It’s a rumor that’s been circulating since last September, when Ronaldinho left Brazilian side Fluminense and became a free agent: would he take the millions on offer in China? Would he become another poster child, albeit a 36-year-old one, for MLS? Wherever he ended up, it was a guarantee that he’d ignite a fan base, sell thousands of tickets and jerseys, and delight with his non-diminishing levels of skill.
Although the amount of running he’d put in would be slim to none, who cares? As a Minnesota United fan, I’d be the first one to encourage the Loons to make him their first marquee MLS signing, damn team structure and work rate to hell! It’s the Great Dinho, the artist’s footballer.
Ronaldinho was so good, even Real Madrid fans applauded him pic.twitter.com/z78dfIudlk— BigSport (@BigSportGB) September 9, 2016
In all the hoopla concerning his future, one thing we’re reluctant to admit is that Ronaldinho’s career could simply be at an end. Not because teams aren’t interested, but because Ronaldinho isn’t interested in the daily grind of the professional life anymore.
If Ronaldinho flopped as a player in MLS or China, no one would care. He’d still supply highlight reel material and take a franchise, from a marketing perspective, to unknown heights.
But Ronaldinho just might not be all that interested. “The idea is to play one more year,” Ronaldinho told Catalan newspaper Sport. “I’ve had the chance to play [in the U.S.] many times. I have a lot of friends, many directors at clubs."
There’s a couple things in that statement that hint at Ronaldinho’s playing days being over. First, it’s simply an idea. Who’s idea is it? His representatives? His agent? It’s just an ‘idea’, not a guarantee.
Secondly, he’s been a free agent since September and “many” offers have been made. Realistically, he’d have started MLS play in March when the season began. Now, with MLS Playoffs approaching and a roster freeze imminent, there’s no way he’d turn out in MLS this year.
It makes you wonder if the LA Galaxy didn't sound Ronaldinho out as well as Landon Donovan.
More tellingly was this quote: “And now I’ve got the chance to play there again [MLS]. It’s an option, but what I most want is to have the chance to travel, to promote the things I want to do.”
Essentially, that’s what Ronaldinho has been doing over the last year. Traveling, playing in friendly Futsal tournaments as the headline player, playing in friendlies for charity, being an ambassador for Barcelona and promoting his various products.
Ronaldinho has always done what makes him happy — it’s the same sentiment that was the necessary ingredient behind his joyous playing style.
Read between the lines and it’s fairly obvious that his professional career is behind him. As fans of the great Brazilian, that’s just difficult to accept.
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