To all our high school readers: stay around, this story will hit close to home. If someone strings you along, for even a minimal amount of time, it’s time to question that relationship.
Once upon a time Ronaldinho was a Ballon d’Or winner, Champions League champion, and worth over €80 million. He was at the top of international soccer. In the early twilight of his career, Major League Soccer became enchanted with an understandable fantasy that he could land stateside. It would be a coup for the league. Ronaldinho was 30.
But that’s all since changed. His value, if Transfermarkt is right (and it is always right), has plummeted over nine years to the lowly sum of €1.5 million.
Tomas Rosicky has one operable knee. This is the type of company Ronaldinho now keeps. And clearly, Mr. Gaucho is no longer the player he used to be. Whether it’s through his transfer market value (rapidly declining), to his age (36), to his injuries (a 15 game absence is his most recent), to his multiple clubs in recent years (five from 2011-2015), it seems that MLS just can’t quit you, Ronny.
The truth is that the league has been doing this since 2010. Ronaldinho was a sprite 30 years of age in that day, with a first touch to kill and a body that could cope with partying and futebol simultaneously. Rumors at this stage of his career were understandable and even exciting.
But the rumors have never died, despite time’s persistence. In a nuclear holocaust few things will still remain, and among the cockroaches, Rolling Stones farewell tours, white-cop-partners-with-black-cop comedies, and Twinkies will be a seemingly endless stream of Ronaldinho to Major League Soccer gossip.
After six years of reporting on the issue, of which the league has done its fair share of stoking the flames, it’s time for it to end. In fact, the latest iteration of Ronaldinho’s flirtation with MLS was dropped during the most recent international break.
Any press is good press, right? At least the league could generate some buzz ahead of the US-Guatemala bout. It is the soccer journalistic equivalent of endless VJ prattle during MTV’s heyday.
But is it still good press when it’s self-generated and hawking an idea that has never been put to rest despite six years of MLS shilling itself out to someone who clearly doesn’t want to be here?
Ronny’s moved on. He teases the idea of coming to MLS in the same way he teases finishing his career in China, or the UAE. Do people play there for paychecks or quality of play? Please don’t ask that question to Andrea Pirlo.
Plus, he’s got a burgeoning rap career.
And the last thing we need is some sort of Northwest Coast-Southwest Coast hip-hop rivalry that ends up with Clint Dempsey and Ronaldinho exchanging threats on the streets of Vegas, culminating with a rap battle at halftime.
MLS, please stop this for the sake of our collective sanity. Or maybe your endless seduction to Mr. Gaucho is doing just what it should right now: getting a tired, cynical, nearly senile domestic soccer writer to seethe about truly meaningless discussion points regarding the league.
In that sense, well done. But seriously: let the ‘dinho rumors die. It’s time that you both agreed to walk away.