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   June 24, 2002 | 1545 IST


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Ronaldinho backs Seaman

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Brazil striker Ronaldinho says he was saddened to see David Seaman in tears after England's World Cup quarter-final defeat and hopes his winning goal would not damage the England goalkeeper's reputation.

England number one Seaman was pictured weeping after the 2-1 defeat last Friday, blaming himself for conceding Ronaldinho's goal from a long-range free kick.

"I really was very sad when I saw those images of Seaman crying on the television," Ronaldinho was quoted as saying in Monday's Daily Mirror newspaper.

"I have been a great admirer of him for a long time. He is a great player with a great past. It would be a terrible mistake if people changed their thoughts about him because of one isolated moment like that.

"I don't want to be responsible for lowering his reputation because he doesn't deserve that. I don't want that on my conscience.

"I'm sure he's going to recover and find his way back up to be the great player he has always been.

"I really hope that happens. My intention was never to hurt him.

"I don't think he could have done anything about the goal anyway. It wasn't a mistake and no one should blame him," he said.

Ronaldinho, who was sent off soon after his goal for a foul on Danny Mills, has received a one-match ban from FIFA and will miss Brazil's semi-final against Turkey on Wednesday.

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