Ronaldinho does little to stake World Cup spot

Free kicks aside, Ronaldinho did little to stake his claim for a

spot in Brazil’s World Cup squad in what may have been his last

appearance on the international stage.

The 33-year-old Ronaldinho scored from a superb free kick for

the second time at the tournament of continental champions to help

rally Atletico Mineiro to a 3-2 win over Guangzhou Evergrande for

third place.

But his frustration nearly cost the Brazilian side as he was

red-carded for an ugly two-legged stamp on an opponent, moments

before Luan scored the winner on the stroke of stoppage time.

Ronaldinho, like his team, looked listless and played with

little intensity as the Copa Libertadores champions exited

disappointedly to become only the second South American champion to

fail to reach the final.

Moroccan club Raja Casablanca upset Atletico 3-1 in the

semifinals but ultimately came up short against Bayern Munich in

Saturday’s final, losing 2-0.

The frustration seemed to boil over in the 88th minute as

Ronaldinho poorly reacted to substitute Zhao Xuri’s own stamp on

him, and he lashed out for the second time in the match after also

swiping a Guangzhou defender with his elbows.

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, who cast Ronaldinho out of Barcelona

when taking charge in 2008, had hoped for his club to play the

former Barcelona star.

”I saw him in Barcelona like a spectator. But he lost and Raja

Casablanca deserved to play this title,” Guardiola said. ”I would

have liked to have played against him because I like to play

against the best teams in the world.”

Ronaldinho, whose contract is up at Atletico, says he is

uncertain if he will renew with the club.