Ronaldinho to Bournemouth? Why it’s time for the cherries to put the icing on their cake

At the time of writing, from everything I can gather, it’s still possible; your team could sign Ronaldinho. However, he won’t be available for long, and I’m sure by the time I’ve finished typing this article he will have moved to the MLS.

I don’t truly believe that this will be the case; if Ronaldinho was going to move to the MLS he would have done it by now. Furthermore, the two-time world player of the year is a football romantic, which is why he would be a perfect fit for Bournemouth, the most romantic club in the Premier League.

At the height of Ronaldinho’s powers for Barcelona, Bournemouth were in League 2, barely managing to survive in the football league. After narrowly avoiding relegation in 2008 they were promoted in 2010 to League 1.

Back-to-back promotions followed in 2014 and 2015, and Bournemouth now find themselves living the dream in the Premier League, for the very first time in their history. The Cherries have come a long way from their bucket collections during a time when they could only dream of seeing Ronaldinho in their famous red and black striped kit. It is still but a dream for Bournemouth fans, although one that is infinitely more likely than it once was.

The rise of AFC Bournemouth has strangely coincided with the career decline of Ronaldinho. There wasn’t a bad injury or a severe personal tragedy, Ronaldinho has simply got older in the time that it has taken Bournemouth to reach the Premier League, a degeneration in his immense powers was only natural. What is interesting though, is the path he has chosen during the twilight years of his career.

When it became apparent that Ronaldinho was going to leave AC Milan in 2011, many clubs were linked with him, even Blackburn Rovers! However it was widely assumed that LA Galaxy would sign the Brazilian for his commercial clout. Much to the surprise of everyone, except for those who know him best in Brazil, he joined Flamengo, in his native home.

Ronaldinho has been revered wherever he has played, but not because he is a celebrity as the MLS might see him, but because he is a talented footballer with an infectious smile. This is why he has plied his trade in countries with passionate footballing cultures.

Many admirers of Ronaldinho in Brazil will remember him for his contributions in recent years for Flamengo or Athletico Mineiro. In Europe we have a tendency to believe that the European leagues are the be all or end all of football. However this is not the case in South America, their leagues are very important in the worldwide culture of football.

This was personified by Ronaldinho’s spell in Mexico, another passionate footballing country. Throughout his time there he played for a side called Querétaro. During a famous victory against Club America, a team the journeymen of FIFA 15 will recognise, Ronaldinho was brought to tears due to the standing ovation he received from the Club America fans, who payed a humble tribute to his remarkable performance on the day.

This moment, in the Azteca stadium, evoked memoires of a similar event at the Bernabeu stadium during Ronaldinho’s Barcelona days. It is very telling that Ronaldinho himself considers these two moments to be of equal importance in the context of his career: “It is an emotion to live more. I had an ovation at the Bernabéu and now here. I never imagined this. It is something that makes me like Mexico even more and I feel right at home.”

Things have been slightly less romantic for Ronaldinho recently, the Brazilian left Fluminense by mutual consent after only two months at the club. As a free agent he has vowed not to retire, and I think there is no better place for the Brazilian than Bournemouth.

He may not be the player he once was but that doesn’t matter because Ronaldinho and Bournemouth represent two of football’s greatest modern day fairytales, and I can see no better ending for Ronaldinho than to finish his career with the rising tide of the Bournemouth beach boys. Ronaldinho needs to play for a team that won’t take him for granted. He needs to be adored by his fans, and there will be plenty of adoration for him on the South coast.

If nothing else, it would allow the likes of York City to dream that one day, they could have Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo playing for their club. So come on Ronaldinho, make us dream.


About James Bayley

Email: Twitter hand: @BayleyJames

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