Ronaldinho says he’s happy playing for Atletico

Ronaldinho says he doesn’t regret leaving popular club Flamengo

and is happy to have stayed in Brazil to play for Atletico


The former Brazil star made a high-profile exit from Flamengo

after suing the club for nearly $20 million in unpaid wages, but

quickly signed with less popular Atletico to try to revamp his

career following heavy criticism for poor performances since

returning to Brazilian football.

Ronaldinho said he is being treated well at his new club and was

glad he made the choice to stay in Brazil instead of going abroad


”I’m feeling good here,” Ronaldinho said. ”I’ve adapted well

to the club and so far I’ve only had days of happiness.”

Ronaldinho needed less than a week to reach a deal with Atletico

after making headlines across the country for his controversial

departure from Flamengo. The club accused him of unprofessional

behavior and said it would legally fight the player until the


”It was a difficult departure from Flamengo so it’s good to be

welcome here, it means a lot to me,” he said.

Ronaldinho debuted with Atletico Mineiro on Saturday, helping

the team earn a 1-0 away victory over Palmeiras. The former

two-time world player of the year performed well and created many

chances for Atletico at the Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo.

”It was great to start with a victory,” he said. ”These

players really want to become winners, they know the importance of

a title to this club and everyone is motivated.”

Although Atletico Mineiro is an established club in Brazil, it

has not won a significant title since the 1997 Conmebol Cup, a

tournament it also won in 1992. It was relegated to Brazil’s second

division in 2005, but won the title, and returned to the top flight

the following year.

Its sole Brazilian league title came in 1971. It was the

national runner-up in 1999.

Ronaldinho believes Atletico will be a contender for the

Brazilian league title this year and said the team’s good start

will be key when the competition reaches its decisive stages.

”We know how important it is to get off to a good start,” he

said. ”If we play well now we will be able to be in control in the

end of the year.”

Atletico Mineiro won three of its first four matches and is

second in the 20-team standings to Vasco da Gama. The team’s next

match is against the six-time champion Sao Paulo on Sunday.

Ronaldinho said he signed a contract with Atletico only until

the end of the year because he didn’t want to drag negotiations for

too long.

”The Brazilian league was already under way, it had to be a

quick deal,” he said.

Ronaldinho became one of the most high-profile acquisitions by a

Brazilian club after joining Flamengo at the beginning of last year

following a decade of playing in European football, where he

thrived with Barcelona and AC Milan. But he wasn’t playing well

recently and the club was having difficulties paying him the high

salaries, delaying the payments for several months.

Ronaldinho helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup in South Korea

and Japan and was in the team that was eliminated by France in the

2006 quarterfinals in Germany. He was not picked for the 2010 World

Cup in South Africa.

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