Leonardo admits Ronaldinho past his best | sports | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 21, 2017-Tuesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Leonardo admits Ronaldinho past his best

AC Milan coach Leonardo admitted on Saturday that former world player of the year Ronaldinho is not the player he once was but insisted he still has a role to play at the club. Milan play Bologna on Sunday with many speculating that the Brazilian forward will once again find himself sitting on the bench, as he did against Marseille in midweek.

sports Updated: Sep 20, 2009 12:26 IST

AC Milan coach Leonardo admitted on Saturday that former world player of the year Ronaldinho is not the player he once was but insisted he still has a role to play at the club.

Milan play Bologna on Sunday with many speculating that the Brazilian forward will once again find himself sitting on the bench, as he did against Marseille in midweek.

But Leonardo insisted it wasn't helping Ronaldinho to be constantly in the spotlight.

"There's no need to judge Ronaldinho before and after every game. He is a resource like every other player at the club," the coach said.

"It's normal to make some changes when you have to play a long way away with only a few days rest.

"It seems to me that Ronaldinho is always under observation. Every performance is analysed and re-analysed.

"He's a Ballon d'Or winner and it's normal that he's analysed but I think there are many factors that have to be taken into consideration.

"He has a public image (as liking to party) and every time something happens it gets blown up. It's also in part his fault, particularly given what happened in the past at Barcelona."

Ronaldinho has not just come under fire in the press but also from his club president Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, who has said he expects more from the player.

"The president has to perform his role and he's doing that with Ronaldinho," said Leonardo.

"He's asking a player who was a Ballon d'Or winner to do what he is capable of doing and to give his maximum.

"Sometimes he struggles to find space to move around the pitch. I also have to be strong in finding different solutions but it is however normal that a Ballon d'Or winner is in the spotlight.

"He can play off the lone striker, at Barcelona he also played as a lone striker. When a player is in form and has Ronaldinho's class he can play as a central striker but maybe in Italy he struggles more.

"It's true that he's not the player of three years ago but he has done some good things this year and he will do again."