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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 14 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 25, 2007

Barcelona pledge support for Ronaldinho

Barcelona president Joan Laporta and defender Gianluca Zambrotta have thrown their support behind under-fire playmaker Ronaldinho.

The Brazilian international has come under scrutiny for some indifferent performances for Barca this season and his lifestyle off the pitch has also been put in the spotlight, with reports of late-night partying 48 hours before a recent match against Osasuna.

However, Barca full-back Zambrotta took the side of his team-mate, saying: 'I don't see it as bad to go out 48 hours before a game. If it is to drink and get drunk then it is not okay, but if it is just to have a small drink then there is nothing wrong with that.

'What is important is that on the pitch you always give 100%.'

Barca president Laporta refused to comment on Ronaldinho's private life but insisted the club need to rally around the former two-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

'The only therapy for him is to help him and ensure he does not feel apart,' Laporta said.

'We need to be together with him. I am sure that he will return to give us plenty of success.'