Ronaldinho expects World Cup 2014 hopes are over after Atletico Mineiro suffer shock exit from Club World Cup

The Brazilian side were beaten by Raja Casablanca

Ronaldinho's hopes that a good performance at the Club World Cup might earn a Brazil recall have been dashed by Atletico Mineiro's shock elimination at the hands of Raja Casablanca.

The ever-grinning former World Player of the Year gave two tantalising glimpses of his unique talent before drowning in a sea of mediocrity in Wednesday's match.

He scored Atletico's only goal in the 3-1 defeat with an exquisite free kick and, buoyed by that, cheekily flicked the ball over an opponent to send the Brazilian fans into raptures.

For most of the game, however, Ronaldinho, 33, looked off the pace and ponderous as the ageing South American champions were upstaged by a team of run-of-the-mill Moroccan league players. The low point was when he tried to pass a defender with a cheeky dribble on the byline and was easily dispossessed.

Ronaldinho won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, was part of the team which went out in the quarter-finals amid high expectations in 2006 and was omitted altogether by coach Dunga in 2010 in South Africa.

His performance on Wednesday was painfully similar to his ineffectual display for Brazil in a 2-1 friendly defeat to England last February in Luiz Felipe Scolari's first game in charge of the five-times world champions.

On that occasion, Ronaldinho was substituted at halftime after missing a penalty and performing sluggishly.

Scolari gave him a couple more run-outs in low-key friendlies but was clearly unimpressed and left him out of the Confederations Cup squad in June.

With the 2014 World Cup on the horizon, Ronaldinho had been hoping to earn another chance by leading Atletico to the title in Saturday's final against Bayern Munich.

"I'm just thinking about Atletico. I want to make the fans happy, represent my country and my club," he said on Monday. "But if we all play well here, then the whole world will see it."

"Everyone knows what I've achieved but I want to prove that I'm in good form and to reach the highest point which there is in Brazilian football, which is the national team."


Ronaldinho's performance was especially dispiriting as he had spared no effort to be ready in time for the Club World Cup after suffering a thigh injury in September.

It was initially feared he would be out for the rest of the year but, amid almost daily coverage of his race to be fit in time, he recovered quicker than expected and scored two goals for Atletico as he returned on the final day of the season.

The former AC Milan and Barcelona's career has been in a long, slow decline since he was chosen as FIFA's World Player of the Year award for a second time in 2005, blamed mainly on his partying lifestyle.

However, he enjoyed resurgence after his move to Atletico last year, raising hopes that he could get another chance for Brazil, but all that went down the drain in the frenzied atmosphere of the Stade de Marrakech.

"Of course I'm dejected," he told the Sportv network. "The expectations were huge, it's been a marvellous year and we have gone down in the club's history.

"This is tough, we'll have to see what's left for us."

As he trooped dejectedly off the pitch, Ronaldinho was surrounded by admiring Raja Casablanca players, a sign of the adulation he still enjoys in many parts of the world but is more a sign of his past than his present.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride