Ronaldinho signs deal with Atletico MineiroRonaldinho signs deal with Atletico Mineiro
SAO PAULO - Former Barcelona and AC Milan playmaker Ronaldinho signed a short-term contract with Brazilian top-flight club Atletico Mineiro on Monday, just four days after his acrimonious split with Flamengo.
The former World Cup winner and FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 walked out on Flamengo and alleged the club owed him 40 million reais ($19.6 million) in unpaid wages and bonuses. Atletico have signed the 32-year-old Brazilian until the end of the year and he could make his debut on Wednesday in a league match against Bahia.
“He is not just any player, he is Ronaldinho,” said club president Alexandre Kalil. “I have a reputation as a madman but I am not mad enough to turn down the chance to sign Ronaldinho.”
Atletico, one of two big clubs in Belo Horizonte along with Cruzeiro, finished 15th in the league last season and have won the title just once before in 1971.
Ronaldinho joined Flamengo in January 2011 and in his first year his goals helped them win the Carioca State championship and to finish fourth in the league, a result that got them into the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League.