I'm goalless, not 'goalless': R'dinho
Brazil's midfielder defends his scoreless games saying he did his job well by helping other players score in first three matches.india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 01:32 IST
Ronaldinho is not losing too much sleep over his lack of goals at the World Cup. The two-time FIFA player of the year is the only member of Brazil's "magic quartet" who didn't score in Brazil's first three matches.
"It will come at the right time, I'm not preoccupied with that," Ronaldinho said. "I've been doing my job, which is to help the other players score goals."
Ronaldinho set up two of Brazil's goals in the 4-1 win over Japan on Thursday, but has yet to get on the board himself. Kaka had the winner in Brazil's 1-0 over Croatia, Adriano scored in the team's 2-0 victory over Australia, and Ronaldo netted a pair against Japan.
Ronaldinho was held scoreless in the three warm-up matches in which Brazil outscored its opponents- Swiss club FC Lucerne, Fluminense's under-20 squad and New Zealand- by 25-1. His last goal was scored on May 6 with FC Barcelona in the Spanish league. With Brazil, he last netted in June 2005 in the Confederations Cup final against Argentina. Ronaldinho has 29 goals in 69 matches with the national team.
The midfielder hasn't played poorly, but seems far from the star who led Barcelona to the Spanish league and Champions League titles this season.
"It's different in the national team because we have to face tough defense," Ronaldinho said. "All teams come marking very hard against Brazil, it's not easy to find spaces."
Ronaldinho said he knows fans and the media are expecting more from him.
"My goal is to improve," he said. "The fact that people want more from me only makes me try harder."
Ronaldinho and the rest of the "magic quartet" were heavily criticized in Brazil's first two matches after failing to spark Brazil's attack. Ronaldinho couldn't get any of his tricks to work and the team wasn't able to create many scoring opportunities. Brazil improved considerably against Japan, when coach Carlos Alberto Parreira made five lineup changes to give some rest to the regular starters and to give more playing time to the second-stringers. Robinho replaced Adriano in the "magic quartet," adding speed to Brazil's attack.
Parreira hasn't officially announced his starting lineup for Brazil's match against Ghana on Tuesday in the second round of the World Cup, but the 26-year-old Ronaldinho was likely to start. He was substituted by Ricardinho in the 71st minute against Japan.
"Now every match is a final, we can't make mistakes anymore," Ronaldinho said. "We will face a lot of difficulties, we'll have to try to move around a lot to find spaces."
Ronaldinho was a member of the squad that won Brazil's fifth title at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. He played five matches and scored two goals, including a spectacular free kick against England in the quarterfinals.
Ronaldinho led Brazil to titles in the 1999 Copa America and the 2000 pre-Olympic tournament, as well as in last year's Confederations Cup in Germany.