Milan transfer guru Adriano Galliani has been criticised heavily over the past few years for failing to adequately reinforce the club’s first team squad. This summer Galliani had been doing much better. Mathieu Flamini is still the signing of the summer so far, while two Italy internationals in Gianluca Zambrotta and Marco Borriello have also arrived.
The signing of Ronaldinho though has certainly divided
opinion, with a number of serious question marks hanging over the Brazilian:
Ronaldinho still the same player he was?
In 2004 and 2005 Ronaldinho was undisputedly the best player
in the world, and indeed for a while he was on another planet to those around
him, winning successive FIFA World Player of the Year Awards, as well as the
Ballon d’Or. Who can forget that unstoppable individual performance against
Real Madrid, when he earned a standing ovation from the Bernabeu crowd? Or what
about that magical, outside of the foot goal against Chelsea in the Champions League?
However, since the 2006 World Cup he has clearly been in
decline, and indeed last season was the worst of his entire career, as he
struggled with weight, form and fitness, barely playing for large chunks of the
season. Recently nicknamed ‘Gordinho’, Ronnie is clearly overweight and out of
shape. He is only 28, and in theory should be at his peak, but will he ever
rediscover his best form, or has he already burnt out? This is the huge gamble
that Milan are
Ever since Andriy Shevchenko left
in 2006, Milan
have seemingly been crying out for a top class first striker. The fact that the
club have been chasing Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Adebayor this
summer seems to suggest that they don’t have much trust in Marco Borriello.
Many people believe it would have been far more beneficial for the club to
spend big on a lethal frontman, who not only will score goals, but will complete
the offensive jigsaw. Milan
are already blessed with a host of brilliant trequartistas - did they really
need another one?
will Ronaldinho fit in?
This brings me on nicely to my
next point about just how Milan
will accommodate Ronaldinho into the starting XI? Kaka, Seedorf, Pato, Pirlo,
Gattuso, Flamini, Ambrosini will not all be able to share the same team with
the Brazilian. Squad rotation is a possibility, but these are big egos we are
talking about, and players are not going to be happy to sit around on the bench
for an extended period. The forever outspoken Seedorf has publicly opposed
Ronaldinho’s transfer, and has warned him that he will neither give up his
No.10 shirt, nor be forced to play in a deeper role. Something certainly has to
give because there is no chance Kaka will be left out of the team. The
Seedorf-Ronaldinho fuse has already been lit.
Ronaldinho & Kaka Play Together?
I wrote a debate on this topic a
few months ago so I won’t over-elaborate, but the truth is that the two Selecao
stars have never looked comfortable playing together. The prime example was the
2006 World Cup when both continuously got in each other’s way, failed to
combine, and as a result there was just no attacking fluency to Brazil’s play.
In many people’s eyes it was the inability of the pair to play together that
was the key reason for the country’s disappointing tournament. Sometimes
players can be just too similar to co-exist, just think of Frank Lampard and
Steven Gerrard for England,
or for an older example, Gianni Rivera and Sandro Mazzola for Italy.
Ronaldinho just bought for commercial reasons?
It is no secret that Milan, as with most
Italian teams, have not been at their strongest financially in recent years.
Many cynics will say that Ronaldinho, being such a huge commercial asset, will
help the club move out of the red and into the black. When Real Madrid signed
David Beckham from Manchester United in 2003, they signed him not for his footballing
ability, but for the money they could make from him. Forbes magazine revealed
how he contributed to the club’s huge increase in merchandise sales, a total of
more than $600 million during Beckham's four years at the club. However, Madrid’s success on the pitch during this time was not so
grand, and indeed they won just one, extremely fortuitous La Liga title in
2007, which was virtually handed to them on a plate by Barcelona. Milan take note!
What are your views on this
topic? Ronaldinho – Top or Flop? Is Ronaldinho still the same player he was?
really need him? Where will he fit in? Can Ronaldinho & Kaka Play Together?
Was the Brazilian just bought for commercial reasons? Goal.com wants to know
what YOU think.