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Oct, 10, 2008

A Brazilian gamble not worth taking

The chance to sign Ronaldo on a free transfer is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that every club in Europe would jump at. That is, of course, if you get the right Ronaldo.

Instead, it is the man affectionately known in the Soccernet office as 'Fat Ronaldo', to distinguish him from his Portuguese counterpart, who is apparently eyeing a move to Manchester City or Paris St Germain having been released by AC Milan at the end of last season.

But what club in their right mind would bring the once-brilliant Brazilian into their squad now? Sure he has won the FIFA World Player of the Year three times and picked up two World Cup winners' medals, but he has ruptured his kneecap ligament three times in recent years and has been dogged with personal problems, including an alleged encounter with three transvestite prostitutes last April.

City surely have bigger fish to fry now that they have the kind of cash that could buy any player in the world. The new owners clearly want a marquee signing to get the fans excited, but wasting £100,000 a week on an overweight, injury-prone, 32-year-old who has hardly played in two years seems to lack common sense.

They have already recruited well with the likes of Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Robinho providing the youthful exuburance that will eventually drive the club forward, and the signing of Ronaldo (no matter how desperate they are for strikers) would represent a backwards step.

The French league may offer more for the striker, although may also struggle to accomodate his inflated wages into their established structure.

PSG certainly have a history of recruiting Brazilian players and with the likes of Ronaldinho, Leonardo, Rai and Ricardo Gomes previously on the books at the Parc des Princes, it is easy to see why a player of Ronaldo's calibre would be welcomed by the fans.

However, after a disappointing start to the season that sees the capital club sit 11th in Ligue 1, is another ageing player really what they need? The club have already brought in 35-year-old Claude Makelele and 32-year-old Ludovic Giuly this summer, without much success.

With both struggling for fitness at the start of the current campaign, the idea of another over-the-hill international joining the setup should be considered an unwelcomed distraction from their attempts to climb up the league. And nothing more.

Indeed, possibly the best thing Ronaldo can do is stay in Brazil, where he is currently recovering in Rio De Janeiro following knee surgery in February. Training with his home club Flamengo, he has admitted it would be 'a dream' to sign for the most popular club in the country.

And who is to say that if he can prove his fitness and haul himself back to some kind of form, he won't be a hit in the Campeonato Brasileiro? He may have lost his pace, but with his eye for goal and the fact Brazilian defenders won't offer much in the way of opposition, he has the potential to forge a decent career in his homeland.

It would just be criminal to think that our abiding memory of a man who has collected more individual awards than many players can dream of and is the most prolific goalscorer in the history of the World Cup, ends up as one sullied by an ill-considered desire to try and relive his glory days.

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