Is Ronaldinho the revolucionist of Mexican Football?
The arrival of Ronaldo de Assis Moreira “Ronaldinho” to Queretaro FC was supposed to revolutionize Mexican football. However, the former Ballon d’Or has struggled in his first season with the Gallos Blancos.
Granted he arrived halfway through the season, the Brazilian superstar has not lived up to the high expectations. Ronaldinho has played in eight league matches and one cup match. He has started in all of the matches scoring only three goals and producing one assist.
Queretaro FC brought him to have a shot at the title. But, with one week left in Liga MX the Gallos Blancos currently sit in tenth place and out of a playoff berth.
Economically though, the club has reaped the benefits of having an international icon within its ranks. According to the Mexican financial news site El Economista, the signing of Ronaldinho could generate up to 115 million of pesos (about 6.8 million Euros) in ticket and jerseys sales. Previously considered dull matches were suddenly sold out. Crowds would gather just to get a glimpse at the former Barcelona player. Mexico had contracted Ronaldinho fever.
Another aspect that was widely talked about was the fact that Liga MX was able to poach a prospect from American MLS. Historically, European and South American players at the twilight of their careers would sign with an MLS team to play their remaining years. The high salaries and comfort of living in the United States are too good to pass by.
But Ronaldinho went another route and some experts predicted that this could start a new trend with retiring players. This is not the first time former European-league players have migrated to Mexican football. Spaniards Josep Guardiola and Emilio Butragueño, as well as German Bernd Schuster all played their final years of professional football in Mexico.
However, there are rumors that Ronaldinho could sign with LA Galaxy during the winter transfer window in order to occupy the retiring Landon Donovan’s designated player spot.
Queretaro FC’s manager Ignacio Ambriz has already come out to deny such rumors stating that Ronaldinho isn’t going anywhere and he would play at least one more tournament with the club.
Only time will tell if Ronaldinho’s signing was a positive move or just another odd chapter in Liga MX’s history.
By Daniel Iglesias (Tijuana, Mexico)