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Liga MX

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By ESPN Staff

Brazil blasts overweight, out of touch Ronaldo

BERLIN, June 14 (Reuters) - Brazil striker Ronaldo was given dismal reviews by the Brazilian media on Wednesday after his lumbering display in the 1-0 win over Croatia.

The Phenomenal One, top-scorer four years ago with eight goals, was jeered off the field when he was substituted by Robinho in the 69th minute of Tuesday's game.

The reception from the critics was no more friendly for Ronaldo, whose only real dribble came after the match when he managed to avoid passing through the interview area in the stadium and sneaked out another way.

Former World Cup striker Tostao, writing for the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, said: 'Brazil were slow and bureaucratic and only improved when Robinho came on for Ronaldo, who was slow and weird.'

Other critics agreed that the world champions had effectively beaten Croatia with 10 men.

'You felt sorry for Ronaldo,' wrote Juca Kfouri, one of Brazil's best-known columnists.

'Perhaps the team's biggest merit was to have beaten Croatia with 10 players, or almost nine,' he said, referring to a similarly lacklustre display from Ronaldo's striking partner Adriano.

'(Coach Carlos Alberto) Parreira should take him out of the team, to preserve his reputation if nothing else.

'It was a torture to see him like a wobbling heavyweight, staggering around the pitch as if what was going on around had nothing to do with him.

'To control a simple ball seemed a Herculean task.'

Fernando Calazans, columnist in the Rio de Janeiro daily O Globo, took a similar line, also criticising Adriano.

'The two looked as if they were having a wander around the garden,' he said. 'How on earth do you challenge for a World Cup like that?

'The most incredible thing is that the two stayed on the pitch, together, for 69 minutes.

'When Robinho came on for Ronaldo, Brazil, five times champions of the world, started playing with 10 men. Adriano remained, fighting with the ball.'

'The result is that ball didn't stay for five seconds in the attack, it hit Ronaldo and Adriano and bounced back, which overworked the defence.'

Australia lead Group F after beating Japan 3-1 in the opening game.