A brace of inspired performances from Ronaldinho has given fans of Flamengo every right to celebrate.
It’s unlikely you’ll catch the buck-toothed marvel out on the town though after his employees took an extreme measure to curtail his midmorning merriment.
Beating his hometown club Grêmio to ‘Dinho’s signature at the turn of the year was seen as a colossal coup for Rio de Janeiro outfit Flamengo. The deal turned sour however when carnival season struck and the former Barcelona ace ditched soccer in favour of the sambadrome.
Flamengo’s club president Patrícia Amorim was left pulling her hair out as the wayward star’s condition deteriorated. Amorim finally decided to take action after watching her team fail to win for the fourth game on the trot.
Amorim petitioned the 35 million supporters of Flamengo to call a special hotline called Disque-Dentuço (call-goofy) if they spotted their club captain on a night out.
Within a week of the Disque-Dentuço number being set-up Ronaldinho has netted three times in two games to push Flamengo to within one win of top spot in the Brazilian top flight.
On the weekend Ronaldinho bagged a spectacular equalizer against Atlético Mineiro as he teed the ball up on his knee before steering it home. Gaúcho went on to play a part in three more goals as Flamengo romped towards a 4-1 win.
Ronaldinho was on form again last night as he capped off a match winning performance at the expense of América Mineiro with two textbook strikes. The World Cup winner rolled back the years as he slotted home a free-kick from the edge of the box before banging in the winner from close range.
To witness the one-time World Player of the Year whipping out the lollipops, flip-flaps and smoking gun celebration was enough to make the Fla’ faithful forgive all previous transgressions.
It’s not uncommon to hear the brass buttons label their supporters as the football club’s greatest asset. Regardless, there must have been very few top-to-bottom initiatives that have had the instant impact of Amorim’s fan phone line.