By Carlos Graffigna, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – One of Brazil’s legendary soccer figures of the last decade has a dream. Recognized by FIFA as the World Player Of The Year in 2005, Ronaldinho Gaucho has become an afterthought in the Dunga era, Brazil’s current national coach. Now, however, with time running out to the start of the Finals, he hopes to once again become a member of the squad for South Africa 2010.
Interviewed by GloboNews, Ronaldinho admitted “I really do not want to talk about it because it may seem like I’m trying to pressure someone. But my will and my dream are clear; I want to be at the World Cup and help bring home one more title.”
The midfielder, who has regained something of his former glory this season in Italy for AC Milan, says the key to success is “having the continuity I’m experiencing now in Milan, I’m already completely adapted. Plus, the team is going through a good stage and everything is going well.” He added that, “by improving and regaining my form I hope to build the road that takes me to Brazil’s national team”. When asked about his much publicized fitness problems, he declared; “its part of the past”.
Ronaldinho became World Champion with Brazil in 2002, but four years later in Germany, considered then as one of soccer’s ‘greats’, his poor form was picked out as a main cause in Brazil’s elimination in the Quarterfinals.
If Ronaldinho is to make the team now he certainly has a few people to impress first. Jorginho, a member of Brazil’s coaching staff, declared to GloboNews that desire to play for the National Team is not enough, “I would also like to play, but I am 45 years old. My time has passed as happens to everyone. I admire his desire to play for the national team, but you also need to show you are up to the task of playing on the field.”
The one man able to make Ronaldinho’s dream happen is Coach Dunga, and he seems willing to take his time before making a decision on the final roster to represent Brazil in South Africa.
Before heading for exhibition games in England and Oman, he left open the possibility of recalling other players in Europe for the last friendly in March 2010. He stated to Brazil’s official team website “We have players that have been here and we know their potential and what they can do on the field. Now, we have the opportunity to look at new players and make a decision.”
The next few months will be critical for Ronaldinho, but at least with his increased level of play in Italy he has accomplished one task; getting the media attention needed to become at least an option for the coach, something that looked unlikely a few months back when he was dropped after a few bad performances.
Soccer fans all over Brazil and the World are expectant, a player of Ronaldinho’s history and charisma will always attract attention and all eyes are on Coach Dunga and his anticipated final roster for the 2010 World Soccer Cup.