Ronaldinho given World Cup hope

Published: Monday | September 5, 2011 Comments 0

LONDON (AP):

After rediscovering his form, fitness and passion for football, Ronaldinho has been given hope he can re-establish himself as a permanent fixture in the Brazil team through to the 2014 World Cup on home soil.

The two-time world player of the year will play his first game for his national team in 10 months, when the Brazilians take on Ghana in an international friendly in London today.

A string of impressive displays for Flamengo in the Brazilian league persuaded Brazil coach Mano Menezes to recall the 31-year-old Ronaldinho, who is now being viewed not just a supremely gifted player but also a mentor to the country's new wave of talent.

History

"This isn't a temporary solution," Menezes said yesterday. "It's important for the Brazilians to have someone like Ronaldinho, with his experience and his history with the Brazil team, with a World Cup coming up. Alongside the younger players, he will try to build the Brazil team so we can get to the next stage (in their development) and then to the World Cup.

"Yes, there's a long time to go yet but a player like Ronaldinho has got the qualities we need. It's about playing well at this time and he's been doing that with Flamengo so I do believe he is able to play at the World Cup."

A world champion in 2002, Ronaldinho was one of the best players of the last decade but after a glittering, trophy-laden spell at Spanish giant Barcelona between 2003-08, his career nosedived at AC Milan.

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