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22.06.2007 15:00

Ronaldinho after a fresh start

Sandra Sarmiento

After a year without winning any major trophies, Ronaldinho thinks it’s time to go back to square one and think the whole situation through in order to “make Barça champions again along with all my team mates.”

Having just returned from Pretoria, Ronaldinho is on the point of starting his summer holidays, and spoke to Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat about a complicated season, in which he has admitted he has not performed to the best of his ability.

Two titles out of seven. What has been the problem this season? Was it overconfidence?

DSC00572.JPG“I don’t think so. We tried our best but sometimes that is not enough. Now we have to go on holiday and look at the things we did well and what we did bad. We have to be enthusiastic about the start of next season. We have all made mistakes and we have to keep working around those mistakes.”

What went wrong?

“I think we could have done better in every aspect. We all wanted to do well, but after a great year in which everything worked out well for us, we were very confident and enthusiastic. We have to start again from scratch and start fighting like we did the year before.”

Have your own problems been poor fitness training, the tour and arriving without a proper holiday, as you said?

“I think so. I had just got back from the World Cup and immediately started work again, and not separate from the rest of the group, and that wasn’t good for me. I never felt good all year, I was tired. I was shattered. I hope to get next season off to a good start and to be physically in shape.”

Were you lacking humility?

DSC00577.JPG“No, the players were the same as ever. When things don’t work out, little things crop up here and there. But the squad was fine and the players we have here will be able to make Barça strong again next season.”

The president says there was a lack of commitment and responsibility.

“He is the boss, and he has to see things as he does and makes the decisions he does, but I think we always behaved the right way. In football, if you don’t win, you try to work out what went wrong. I think we did all we could to make the team strong and we just need to look at the little things we didn’t do well.”

Do you agree that there is a need for an internal code?

“Everybody sees things in their own particular way, and has their own ideas of what is right. We have always done things the same way here and things have gone well. We have to wait and see what the bosses decide and then we just have to get on with doing our jobs.”

Would you accept the new rules?

“I’d have no problem with them. I have worked with a lot of coaches and presidents and they all have their own ways of working. I have no problem with that, I can work whatever way they want.”

You were the top scorer this season, but didn’t play as well as you have done in other seasons. Was it a physical thing?

DSC00573.JPG“Yes, always. I was never one hundred per cent fit. There are moments when I felt fine but I lacked strength in several games and that is why I decided not to go to the Copa America. I need to rest and start next season at the same time as the rest of the squad so that I can play better next season. I am delighted with the number of goals I scored but I want to keep scoring and to be fully fit.”

Has this been your most demanding season?

“Yes. When you don’t win trophies or matches, you have to be critical. That’s normal, when you don’t win titles.”

Do you feel that the criticism has been unfair?

“No, unfair no, never. I have been criticised in the same way that my team mates have. That’s football.”

A lot of things have been said about you...

“Normal, just like they say nice things when you win, if you don’t, they look for reasons. But sometimes they say things that aren’t true.”
Ronaldinho after a fresh start

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Future at Barça
The president has said you are not for sale. Do you see yourself as the leader of Barça?

“Since I came here, I have been very clear about our objectives. First, we had to get Barça back into the Champions League. Then, win the League and compete in the Champions League. So, I have been here for four seasons. We have won the league twice and finished second twice. Now, the aim is to make Barça champion again along with all my team mates.”

Do you think Rijkaard should stay?

“Yes, I think that would be fair after all he has done for Barça. They should take a look at what he needs and leave him to do his work the way he wants to.”

Will you be here on July 23?

“I think so. I am leaving here to come back here. I have always thought that. I am happy here. But now it’s time for a holiday and then I’ll be back.”

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