Leonardo: Ronaldinho 'not the player he once was'

Click to follow

AC Milan coach Leonardo has conceded that Ronaldinho is not the player he once was.

The Brazilian former world and European player of the year was left out of the squad for Sunday's 1-0 victory over Bologna and Leonardo has admitted that Ronaldinho is struggling to recapture his best form.

The 29-year-old has endured mixed fortunes since joining Milan from Barcelona in July 2008.

"There's no need to judge Ronaldinho before and after every game. He is a resource like every other player at the club," said Leonardo

“It seems to me that Ronaldinho is always under observation. Every performance is analysed and re-analysed.

"He's a Ballon d'Or winner and it's normal that he's analysed but I think there are many factors that have to be taken into consideration.

"He has a public image and every time something happens it gets blown up. It's also in part his fault, particularly given what happened in the past at Barcelona.

"It's true that he's not the player of three years ago but he has done some good things this year and he will do again."

Meanwhile, Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara is refusing to look too far ahead despite his side maintaining their 100 per cent start to the season and joint leadership of Serie A.

The Turin club's 2-0 victory over Livorno on Saturday kept them at the top of the pile alongside Sampdoria on a maximum 12 points.

"Are we running away? We're only at the fourth matchday, let's not exaggerate," said Ferrara when asked about their Scudetto chances.

"We are learning not to lose points along the way, which is important."

Ferrara has refused to rise to the bait offered by Internazionale coach Jose Mourinho following his recent assertion that Juve had been given a kinder set of Serie A fixtures after European games than his side.

"I don't answer to provocations, although I think he was only making a remark," he added. "However, I agree that teams playing in the Champions League should be given more rest.

"But Juventus aren't the ones who decide the calendars."