Things could not have been worse for Ronaldinho coming into the latest edition of the Derby Della Madonnina. He was still not at the level that people though he could be at, but then the big stab in his heart came midweek.
Brazil coach Dunga left the AC Milan midfielder out of his 23-man callup for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. His reason was simple- he wasn´t up to par. To be told so bluntly and so honestly that you aren´t good enough at this moment either motivates a player or extinguishes whatever ember is left in that player.
There is one thing in repertoire that needs more fixing than nagging muscle injuries. For starters, consider his ego. When a player that can do everything is suddenly told he can’t and his actions reinforce that, it is a major trauma. For many it might mean their careers. The last time he had a huge trauma like this was after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He was supposed to be the man that gave the Canarinha their first-ever gold medal. That obviously did not happen and it took a few years to get over. Three years to be exact.
It took a change of scenery and a group of coddling fans to turn that around for him. Sound familiar?
Ok, Kaká (who was arguably the best player on the pitch) was offside, but the ensuing pass was laser-guided and the header was perfect. Fooled me once shame on you.
He is not at 100% yet, but was able to set his differences aside with Kaká can play together. And when they do, God is it magic. A defense like Inter’s could have recovered. So let’s not blame one call on one team winning or losing. Milan was the better team tactically and they played with much more fire despite what Zlatan Ibrahimovic may say. Fooled me twice, shame on me.
Based on the game he had in his very first derby, there were flashes of the old Dinho. It was a fifty-meter ¨one-two¨ between the two Brazilians that led to the only goal of the match. Dinho might not be fit yet, but he is showing signs of coming back. Hey, if he wasn´t in shape the header he scored on would have never materialized. There is no chance that an injured player would have been able to a) jump high (or jump at all) b) be able to have the ability in the air to direct the ball that way, and c) come into the ball with that much power. My point is that a good header heads with his legs. You can have a metal plate in your head, but if you have no legs, there is no way you are driving the ball the way he did. So if he is able to do what he did, then he is on the way physically. If there was any other proof, let’s use Ronaldinho’s first shot that could have been the first score of the game be exhibit B. If not for a superhuman save by Julio Cesar, the result would have been the brace for the The Gaúcho. Then again hindsight is always 20/20.
So is Ronaldinho back? I would probably say no. He is getting back into form. He did change venues and he is now vital in another lethal trio. Hey, he actually danced after scoring a goal. That could mean that the magic could come back very soon.