Brazilian clubs shun Ronaldinho after contentious Flamengo exit


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The Independent Football

Ronaldinho's chances of continuing to play football in Brazil have diminished significantly following his high-profile departure from popular club Flamengo.

The 32-year-old terminated his contract and sued the club for $20m in unpaid salaries on Friday, sparking a host of top Brazilian teams to denounce any interest in signing him.

Ronaldinho has played below expectations and been criticised for unprofessional behaviour off the field for alleged appearances at parties and nightclubs.

This week he announced he wanted to take time off to look after his sick mother. On top of suing the club, he asked a judge to terminate his contract. Flamengo admitted difficulties paying for his high salaries after ending a partnership with sports marketing group Traffic, but they denied owing him $20m. The Flamengo president, Patricia Amorim, said: "We are extremely disappointed and I promise fans that we will fight until the end to defend the team's rights."

After a slow start at Flamengo after joining from Milan in 2010, Ronaldinho was instrumental in the club winning the Rio de Janeiro state championship in 2011. He then helped Flamengo earn a spot in this year's Copa Libertadores and regained a spot in the national team, but played poorly throughout the season.

Corinthians, Palmeiras and Gremio are among the clubs who have already said they have no interest in making a move for Ronaldinho. "You must be kidding me," The Gremio director Paulo Pelaipe said. "Thankfully he chose not to come to Gremio in 2010. Now he's Flamengo's problem."

Sources close to Ronaldinho say he has received offers from clubs in China, while the Spanish press has indicated that Malaga may be keen.

The Santos coach Muricy Ramalho defended Ronaldinho by saying he should remain an idol for Brazilian fans, while World Cup winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, now with Palmeiras, said he would still want the player on his squad, although finances made that impossible.