Ronaldinho’s relationship with Flamengo coach shaky25/05/2012
RIO DE JANEIRO – Ronaldinho might be regretting his return home to Brazil.
The two-time FIFA Player of the Year became entangled in a verbal sparring match with Flamengo coach Joel Santana this week, as he criticized the team’s strategy in a recent 1-1 draw with Sport. Ronaldinho, who has been hobbled by various injuries and spates of poor play since a transfer from AC Milan last year, also was left off Brazil’s 23-man roster for several upcoming friendlies as the national team prepares for the 2012 London Olympics in August.
“We played with two strikers and Sport with three defenders, it’s hard,” Ronaldinho told reporters. “In the second half we had three on three and it was better.”
Santana, whose team hasn’t played in nearly a month after being eliminated in the group stage of the Copa Libertadores and the semifinals of the Rio Cup, had a harsh retort for his underperforming star.
“The only one who can talk about the team’s tactics is me, nobody else,” Santana told reporters. “We played just the way we practiced, I don’t know what Ronaldinho was talking about. We had some players who didn't play well. I’m not going to talk about Ronaldinho. You saw what happened, I don’t have to say anything.”
Brazil’s Junior do Santos ready to face Frank Mir in UFC 146
Junior dos Santos has already made one dream come true and he has yet to step in the ring against Frank Mir at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 146 on May 26.
The Brazilian mixed martial artist, who grew up poor in the southern town of Caçador in Santa Catarina, helped one of his biggest fans realize his ultimate fantasy when he flew 9-year-old Breno Luis Ferreira de Carvalho, mother Simone, and older brother Pedro Gabriel to Las Vegas. The family from Salvador, Brazil, will watch dos Santos defend his heavyweight title against Mir at the MGM Grand Garden where they are staying for the week.
“When I thought of it, I said to myself, ‘He reminds me of myself when I was his age,’” dos Santos told reporters. “I was quieter, and he’s definitely not quiet. He likes to talk a lot, but he has the same curiosity I had. ‘Why do you do this? Why do you do that?’ He loves to watch us spar and he wants to try it, too. Every day, though, he is there and talking and asking questions.”
Ferreira befriended dos Santos in his hometown, where the champion was training for the upcoming fight. At the conclusion of the training, the youth begged his countryman to take him along to the United States.
Dos Santos couldn’t turn down his biggest fan, and soon a family that didn’t even own luggage a week ago was flying to Nevada.
“It’s just so exciting being here,” Ferreira told reporters. “Even to get to sit on an airplane was like a dream. I could see all things out of the window, big buildings and we were really high above them, flying like a dream. But I’m here to help [dos Santos] defend his title.”
Dos Santos (14-1) will rely on his brute strength and elite boxing ability against Mir (16-5), who is known for his striking and legendary takedowns. Dos Santos has successfully countered 85 percent of the takedown attempts against him in his career.
“I think Frank Mir is a really dangerous opponent because he’s really good on the ground,” dos Santos told reporters. “He’s got pretty good striking skills, and it’s going to be a good challenge for me. I don’t care who’s going to be my opponent, but I hope they are fighting like me: clean. Because I’m clean, and I hope my opponent is clean, too.”
Cabrera the biggest Giant in San Francisco
Melky Cabrera is in the final year of his contract, but if he maintains his hot start at the plate, he will have no shortage of suitors this offseason.
The San Francisco Giants outfielder and native of Bajos de Haina in the Dominican Republic is off to one of the best, and most surprising starts, in Major League Baseball, ranking fourth in the National League with a .356 batting average.
He will be a free agent at season’s end, when he can sign with any team.
“Melky is going to need his days off, but he’s one of those guys you forget about and run out there every day,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. “That’s what I love about him: He plays the game. He acts like he’s been there before.”
Cabrera is tied for the major league lead with 64 hits, as he also has two home runs and 18 runs batted-in.
“Right now, I’m focused on doing the best I can for the team,” Cabrera told reporters.