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Flamengo about to crank up the drama on Ronaldinho’s departure

Brazil Atletico Mineiro Ronaldinho

Brazil’s soccer player Ronaldinho wears the jersey of his new soccer team Atletico Mineiro during a press conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Monday, June 4, 2012. Ronaldinho signed with Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro on Monday, less than a week after leaving Flamengo and suing his former team for unpaid wages. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio)


Ronaldinho’s exit from Flamengo is getting messier, though it appears his former club has no leg to stand on.

Four days after Ronaldinho was freed from his Fla contract, the former World Player of the Year signed a six-month deal with another Brazilian club, Atlético Mineiro, ending any hope Flamengo had of seeing their star attraction return. Instead, Flamengo is left to defend itself in the same court that issued the injunction ending Ronaldinho’s deal, though the club feel they have a couple of trump cards.

  • First, Fla insists Ronaldinho’s former teammates will testify against the player, describing the unprofessional behavior Flamengo will imply justified their withholding of monies (the main reason why Ronaldinho was allowed to break his contract).
  • Second, Flamengo say they have video of a famous January incident where Ronaldinho brought a woman into the team hotel room against the orders of then-coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo. The resulting face-off between player and coach led to the former Brazil national team boss’s dismissal, the club backing the player over the coach.

That’s what makes it hard to believe Flamengo will get legal recourse. For at least six months before Ronaldinho got out of his deal, Flamengo seemed fine with what they’re now calling unprofessional behavior.

It was also well-known that well before the January incident, Flamengo had fallen behind in their payments to their star. Ahead of February’s start of Copa Libertadores’ group stage, speculation held Ronaldinho would break his contract and move to another qualified team. Only now, six months later (and well after Flamengo was been eliminated from Copa) has Ronaldinho moved on.

If you read Portuguese, there’s more here from Globo, but in all likelihood, it’s just a bunch of bluster from a club trying to save face. One of the country’s biggest sports stars has just rejected the club. There’s a P.R. job to be done.