Messi helps Barca forget Ronaldinho woes
28 September 2007, MADRID - Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho's poor form and reported off-the-field antics are giving Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard a major selection headache ahead of Saturday's trip to bottom side Levante.
28 September 2007
MADRID - Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho's poor form and reported off-the-field antics are giving Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard a major selection headache ahead of Saturday's trip to bottom side Levante.
Rijkaard chose to keep Ronaldinho, recently jeered by the fans that worship him, out of the firing line during the last two league matches with the Brazilian said to have picked up a calf injury.
Without Ronaldinho, Barcelona have flourished winning both their matches with the scintillating displays of Argentine international Lionel Messi - who has scored four goals in his last two games - leaving them just one point behind joint leaders Villarreal and Valencia.
Rijkaard now has a dilemma needing to decide whether to change a winning team to accommodate Ronaldinho who has looked a shadow of himself since the back end of last season with some Spanish reports claiming his penchant for late night-partying has blunted his sharpness.
"Of course you cannot go out 48 hours before a game. There are people saying he did go out but I asked him and he said it was not true. I believe in the integrity of my players," declared Rijkaard.
Champions Real Madrid can leapfrog Barcelona and return to the summit providing they can overcome Real Betis in Thursday's late match.
Then on Sunday Real coach Bernd Schuster returns to face former club Getafe, who he guided to the Copa del Rey final last season, for the first time in an enticing local derby.
It has been a great start for Real whose president Ramon Calderon believes Schuster has a long-term future with the club despite the German manager admitting that he was feeling a bit out of his depth after previously only coaching smaller clubs.
Real Zaragoza v Sevilla, Levante v Barcelona
Atletico Madrid v Osasuna, Villareal v Athletic Bilbao, Almeria v Racing, Valladolid v Murcia, Real Betis v Mallorca, Espanyol v Deportivo La Coruna, Getafe v Real Madrid, Recreativo Huelva v Valencia
(Copyright AFP with Expatica)
Subject: Spanish news