Ronaldinho rediscovers magic in debut for new club
Rio de Janeiro : Ronaldinho declared he still has "a lot to offer in football" after showing flashes of his old magic in his debut for new club Atletico Mineiro.
The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year proved talks of his demise is premature as Atletico Mineiro defeated Palmeiras 1-0 in a Brazil`s Serie A championship match.
"There was a lot of talks after I left Flamengo, but I prefer to let my performances on the pitch do the talking," Ronaldinho said after the match.
"What I mean is running, being committed and showing that I still have a lot to offer in football," he said.
It was the former Barcelona and AC Milan star`s first match after quitting Flamengo May 31. He sued the Rio club for millions of dollars for unpaid wages, reports said.
The 32-year-old started slowly at Sao Paulo`s Pacaembu stadium but produced a series of defence-splitting passes and trademark dribbles late in the match.
Striker Jo capitalized on a better second-half by heading in a Bernard cross in the 49th minute.
The victory sent Atletico Mineiro to the top of the championship table, one point ahead of Vasco da Gama, who has a game in hand.
Atletico coach Cuca lavished praise on Ronaldinho, saying the team would be shaped around the star.
"The players are going to run for him," Cuca said. "What happened at Flamengo is in the past. He is going to fit in very well.”
"Even though he was heavily marked by Palmeiras in this match, he helped us a lot. He made some wonderful passes that put his teammates in the face of goal. He is going to get better after he gets used to our style of play and we have to make the most of him," he said.