If there has ever been a player who was able to rebuild his reputation during the recently finished season in South America, it is Ronaldinho Gaucho. And so, with this renewed energy, it is clear that the attacking midfielder is now eyeing a spot on Brazil’s national team for the 2014 World Cup.
The former Golden Ball winner has recovered his long-lost smile at Atletico Mineiro and, at 33 years of age, has proven that he never forgot how to play top-notch soccer.
His tough spell at Milan was followed by a triumphant but rather chaotic stay at Flamengo, giving way to his settling down in Belo Horizonte.
Ronaldinho has won a league title with the Minas Gerais squad, and earlier this summer he triumphantly lifted his first Copa Libertadores over his head. With the victory of the top continental tournament in America, Ronaldinho becomes the first player in history to win the UEFA Champions League, the Libertadores, the ConfedCup, the Copa America and the World Cup.
2005’s best player in the world is back in the land of the living, and he wants to make up for lost time.
Ronaldinho trying to earn a spot on the Brazilian national team
Slaven Bilic, Turkish side Besiktas’ coach, confirmed his team has made a bid for Ronaldinho, and the former Barcelona attacker is said to be debating a return to Europe.
There are many things to put into perspective for the Gaucho before making such a drastic move — the most important of them being the possibility of still having a chance at playing with the Brazilian national team in the World Cup that will take place next summer in his home country.
Since returning to his best form, Ronaldinho has been an on-and-off piece of the Canarinha, as Mano Menezes has used him at random times during his tenure with the national squad but did not call him up for the Copa America.
This year, it seemed Scolari put his trust in him — even naming him captain in a friendly against Chile in April. While Ronaldinho participated in three international games, he was then left out of the Confederations Cup.
Ronaldinho faces tough competition
The truth is, Brazil has seen a resurgence of talented players in the attacking line — as Scolari has counted on young stars like Oscar, Neymar, Lucas and even Hulk — playing a right winger lately with the Verde Amarela. As a result, the opportunity to break into the squad is more than tough.
Scolari has not given a chance to veterans like Kaka or Ganso, but Ronaldinho has always been one of his favorite players.
Even before he broke out into an all-around superstar in Barcelona, Scolari made Dinho one of the key players in his team, which won the World Cup in 2002.
Alongside Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Juninho and Denilson, Ronaldinho Gaucho became a staple of the “jogo bonito” team.
While Scolari knows that the younger generation occupying Ronaldinho’s position on the field is quite talented, he also knows that if Dinho remains in top shape, there are not many players who can play at his level.
In a short tournament like the World Cup, having an impact-player like Ronaldinho could be an unstoppable asset.
And so, changing the comfortable position he is in right now at Atletico Mineiro, in order to test out the waters in Turkey with Besiktas, seems like a long shot, and perhaps not the best move for the Brazilian.
Had this not been a year prior to the World Cup, surely Ronaldinho would jump on the chance of proving his talents once again on the larger European stage; perhaps just for the thrill of being able to say: “I’m back.”
But with Brazil 2014 around the corner — and this literally being his last chance to get a go at it in the World Cup — we could pretty much put our money on the fact Ronaldinho will stay in Brazil this summer, where he will get all the needed playing time and where his magic will surely catch Scolari’s eye once again.