Ronaldinho told he must justify his Brazil inclusion

Updated 05 February 2013
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Ronaldinho told he must justify his Brazil inclusion

LONDON: Ronaldinho has been told by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari that he must justify his surprise inclusion for Brazil after a one-year absence.
The 32-year-old has been in and out of the Brazil squad over the last few years and missed the 2010 World Cup as his career went steadily downhill, widely blamed on his partying lifestyle.
The twice FIFA Player of the Year’s last appearance was a year ago against Bosnia under Mano Menezes, who was sacked in November and replaced by Scolari, who has immediately recalled the controversial figure.
“Ronaldinho may be 32 but last year, he had a spectacular championship with Atletico Mineiro, where he was the leader of team,” a hoarse Scolari told a news conference at Wembley stadium on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s friendly with England.
“He has leadership qualities and he is good enough to play for several years.
“He will show me whether I am right or wrong to cap him once again and he will have to show how quickly he can integrate into the team,” added the man known as “Big Phil,” who was battling a sore throat.
The England match will be Scolari’s first since he returned for a second stint with Brazil, who he led to their fifth and last World Cup title in 2002 with a team which included Ronaldinho.
In between, Scolari led Portugal to the Euro 2004 final and World Cup semi-final in 2006.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said the match would be Ronaldinho’s 100th for his country although it did not say whether this figure included matches against club and representative sides and the Olympic team.
Ronaldinho said he had always been hoping for another chance.
“It was in my plans, I had hopes so I’m very happy to be back,” he told reporters.
“I don’t see myself as the group’s father figure, I’m just another player who happens to have had a lot of experience with the team.
“I hope that, after all the things I have been through, I can help the younger players.”


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 21 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #WengerOut believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.