Hope floats for 'realistic' Ronaldinho
His best days may be well behind him but Ronaldinho's name still rings a bell.
The 32-year-old having had a stellar career in Europe, that included spells with Paris-Saint Germain, FC Barcelona and AC Milan, is now back in native Brazil, playing with Atletico Mineoro.
While he has impressed on his return to Brazil, first winning multiple trophies with Flamengo - a club he quit earlier this year owing to non-payment of dues - and then doing enough to get his initial six-month at Mineoro extended, the level of competition in Brazil, rather lack of it, has ensured he has failed to make it back to the national fold, unlike say fellow 30-something Kaka who plies his trade in Europe (with Real Madrid).
The Porto Alegre born player has not lost hope of a recall though. In fact that Brazil is holding the next World Cup, as also the fact that Luiz Felipe Scolari is back at the helm of affairs, has given him an added incentive to try and win back his place.
"Brazil is hosting the World Cup and I want to play in it," Ronaldinho told rediff.com on the sidelines of an event to launch the animated movie R-10.
'Tough to get my place back in the team'
Getting back in the selecao though and the player is under no illusion, despite the return of Scolari, under whom he played as part of the squad that won the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Brazil fifth and last success in the quadrennial event.
"It is going to be very tough to get my place back in the team," explained Ronaldinho adding, "There are a lot many good players in the team now.
"But I am going to try hard and give it my best shot.
"I really want to be part of that 2014 World Cup squad." Ronaldinho's most productive spell in Europe happened with Barcelona, a club with which he won multiple La Liga titles and a Champions League (2006).
'Football is all about playing a beautiful game'
The Blaugrana have since proceeded to bolster their status as the world's best club, winning a plethora of titles and impressing all with their tiki taka style of football, one that involves quick passing. Asked his opinion about the same Ronaldinho was elaborate in his explanation.
"Football is all about playing a beautiful game and any style that adds to the beauty of the game is going to last," he said.
"In Brazil, and now in Spain, they play good football and therefore, those styles will continue to last," he added, admitting he himself was in favour of the tiki taka style.
However, when asked to compare Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola, his two coaches at the Nou Camp, Ronaldinho was at his diplomatic best.
"Both of them were great footballers in their playing days and both have proceeded to become great coaches since," he said, admitting it was tough to compare the two.
'I had a great time in Paris with PSG'
The player albeit was forthcoming when quizzed about PSG, a club that brought him to Europe (from Gremio) and one that is undergoing a massive transformation following takeover by a Qatar-based group, and consequently a huge flow of cash, something that has helped the French side appoint an eminent coach in Carlo Ancelloti while spending millions to acquire players of calibre like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Motta, Javier Pastore and Ezequeil Lavezzi.
"I had a great time in Paris with PSG," said Ronaldinho, reflecting on his two-year stint with the club during he scored goals galore but only managed to reach a Cup final for his efforts.
"It is a great experiment they are doing in Paris," he continued, adding, "It is already started showing results (PSG lead Ligue 1 standings) and am very sure it is a project that will work in the long run and will be hugely successful.
"Looking at the way they are turning into a force to reckon with I consider myself fortunate to have played with them during my career."
Photographs: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters