RIO DE JANEIRO - Ronaldinho was given a
welcome even bigger than Brazil great Zico when he was
officially unveiled as Flamengo's new signing to a samba beat
More than 20,000 fans, entertained by singers and dancers
while they waited, swarmed the Flamengo headquarters to greet
the gifted, party-loving forward with the toothy grin who was
transferred from AC Milan this week.
Not even that number greeted Flamengo idol Zico on his
return to Rio from Italy in 1985.
Ronaldinho, a World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002, looked
overwhelmed by his reception at first but promised the
Flamengo faithful titles in return and told them his goal was
to help his country win a sixth world crown.
"That's my objective. I decided to return to Brazil for
that. Many come back to Brazil only to close out their
careers," Ronaldinho, decked in the club's red and black
colours, said as he spoke to reporters for the first time as a
"After years away from Brazil, the World Cup and the (2012
London) Olympics have given me motivation to return," added
the 30-year-old, overlooked by his country for the 2010 finals
in South Africa.
The former FIFA World Player of the Year, who hit a peak
for Barcelona when he inspired them to the European Champions
League title in 2006, signed a four-year contract with Flamengo.
"I want to take the name of Flamengo as high as possible,
winning as many titles as possible and repaying these fans'
love... I want to give the fans happiness," he said.
Joyful football was Ronaldinho's trademark during his peak
years in Europe but he had struggled for a first team place at
Milan who gave him permission last week to seek a move to a
"It was a marvelous feeling... I didn't expect such a big
party," Ronaldinho said.
"I'm proud to have got such a reception and to be compared
with Zico. This number 10 shirt has a history and I always
thought of playing for a team with fans like this."
Ronaldinho will make his debut for Flamengo during the
Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) state championship starting later
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Manchester City and the New York Yankees have formed a new Major League Soccer team
Real Madrid president under scrutiny after latest coaching project ends in disarray
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010