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By ESPN Staff

Ronaldinho hits out over 'worst period of my life'

BEIJING, August 4 (Serie A) - AC Milan playmaker Ronaldinho has described his final months at Barcelona as the 'worst period of his life'.

The 28-year-old made the switch to the Serie A in mid-July, after injury woes and a lack of form saw Ronaldinho lose his starting spot at Barca and confined him to only 11 appearances.

While he now admits to being happy to have left the Catalan giants, Ronaldinho revealed he had regularly been 'depressed' during his final few months in Spain.

'It has been the worst period of my life,' he told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

'I was unlucky, I couldn't be in the side, I couldn't play. The only thing I could do was watch TV. And watching the games sat in armchair made me even more depressed.

'I never expected to be out for so long, I didn't know what to do to make things better.'

The former FIFA World Player of the Year was rarely been out of the spotlight last season, as the media heavily criticised his weight, his fitness, his form and his private life.

The Brazil international, who is currently in Beijing for the Olympic Games, admitted he could not understand how quickly people seemed to turn against him.

'What I don't understand is how up until a given day I was an example to others and then, all of a sudden, I'd become like (Diego) Maradona when he was at the centre of controversy.

'When I'm holiday I do what I want. During the season I behave like a serious professional, I never have any slip-ups.

'I do the maximum to be a good athlete, but when the season's over I enjoy life.'

He added that his family, and in particular his brother and agent Roberto de Assis, had also been affected by the negative attention he had received.

He said: 'My family have protected me and given me strength. And they've suffered too because the abuse has not only been aimed at me but also at my brother Roberto, who is also my agent.

'They've accused him of creating instability, of staying close to me only for the money, and other things whose sole aim is to hurt me.'

Now, Ronaldinho has promised to put the problems of the past few months behind him and focus solely on helping the five-time World Cup winners to claim their first Olympic gold medal in the football tournament.

'Now I'm with Brazil and here to play the Olympics,' he said.

'I'm here to lend a hand to my friends, to try and do something historic for the Brazilians, who have never won Olympic gold.

'And to do that I need to be happy.'


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