Ronaldinho Gaucho

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ronaldinho ready for France threat

By his own admission, Brazilian genius Ronaldinho has not been at his spellbinding best in the tournament so far. Even coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has been obliged to come out in defence of his star No.10, stating plainly that the Barcelona star should not be expected to perform footballing miracles every time he steps onto the pitch.

But the man himself is in reflective mood, and the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year knows that the time has come for him to live up to his billing. "Without a doubt, I haven’t shown people what I’m capable of, and that motivates me even more. Tomorrow (Saturday) is another crucial match, and I want to do as well as I can to help Brazil."

Ronaldinho is looking forward to the big-game atmosphere, and in front of an audience of millions around the world, the make-or-break encounter with Les Bleus could well provide the stage he needs to unleash his breathtaking talent. "I’m approaching this game like it was the Final itself, and I'm raring to go. Every World Cup game gives you real motivation, but this one even more. Every footballer would love to play in this type of game."

When asked about his year-long goal drought for the Seleção, the Brazilians' creative fulcrum is phlegmatic. "Scoring isn’t the most important thing. I’m happy to lay on passes which create chances for the strikers," he said. "I’m just hoping to carry on the perfect season I’ve had with Barça for the national team as well," he added.

Of course, all of the talk coming from the Brazil camp is that the game against France is just another match, that revenge for the fateful Final of 1998 does not come into the equation. However, just like Ronaldinho, another player well aware of the significance of Saturday’s contest is flying full-back Roberto Carlos, even allowing for hyperbole. "Right now, this is the most important game of my life," declared the Real Madrid defender.

Ze Roberto, too, could not hide his excitement at the prospect of facing Zidane, Henry et al. "We all know the magnitude of this match. The game when we lost the title, when France beat us, that’s all behind us now. We’ve got the chance to face them again, and that is a chance that you don’t always get. We can’t wait to play this game."


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