Ronaldinho Attacked By Hometown Fans

11 Jan

“May God forgive you, because the Gremio nation never will.”

The sign says it all. The fans’ reaction more so, as they burned Flamengo shirts outside of Gremio’s Estádio Olímpico.

News reached the city of Porto Alegre that Ronaldinho spurned his hometown club for the glitz and glamour of big city club Flamengo, and the fans essentially disowned him. And quite rightly so.

Details are not clear at the moment, but recent reports on the negotiations suggest the club from Rio offered a higher salary for Ronaldinho, not to mention extensive nightlife, bars, and clubs. Speaking of those clubs, he had the audacity to show his face in nearby Florianopolis at a popular joint known as Café de la Musique. When he got there, his fellow countrymen showered him with profanity and taunts, prompting bodyguards to immediately evacuate Ronnie from the premise. Too bad nobody got a piece of him.

It’s hard for me to pass such negative judgment on the man who made me the stark-raving lunatic football fan I am today. But he’s brought it upon himself by acting like a child. What else does he have to prove? This is not an attempt at reclaiming his spot on the national team. This is the final chapter to a long and historic career. And as many Brazilians have done in recent time – Adriano at Flamengo, Robinho at Santos, Roberto Carlos and Fat Ronaldo at Corinthians – after leaving home at a young age to seek fame and fortune abroad, the “prodigal son” always returns home to where it all began. It may sound cheezy, but it is a sign of appreciation and respect above all else.

Even the great Pele, who returned home to Santos in 1974 and played for free to assist the financial woes of his hometown club, said, “If he really loves Gremio, he should play there for free. He is set up for life already, right? That is my opinion.”

For Ronaldinho to make such a decision for money shows the man he has become. Football is an afterthought for him. Where working hard to improve his fitness and regain that spark should be a priority, life off the field has instead become the main attraction for Ronaldinho, to the point where turning his back on the club and town that made him was a viable option.

Ronaldinho has made no secret of his continued support of Gremio from the day he left Brazil ten years ago. Something tells me he would have never imagined the day where openly supporting his own club would no longer be possible. Don’t feel sorry for him – he deserves it.

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