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September 25, 2007

Ronaldinho might miss the game against Zaragoza

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If we analize the events of the last week, we could say that Ronaldinho's muscle injury may be the least of his problems.

Indeed, the Brazilian footballer has come under scrutiny after supposedly staying out late and breaking curfew, leading the Spanish media to doubt the legitimacy of the strain that will likely sideline him from the team's Spanish league clash against Zaragoza on Wednesday.

"He spoke with the coach, who believed him," stated Ronaldinho's brother and agent, Roberto de Assis. "From here on, there's nothing more to say except that Frank Rijkaard believes in him."

And despite the absence of Ronaldinho Gaucho - he also missed Saturday's 2-1 win over Sevilla - Lionel Messi has scored three goals in the last two games to keep the Catalan club surging.

Classic rival Real Madrid leads the standings with 10 points from four matches, one better than both Valencia and Villarreal. Barcelona is fourth with eight points.

Midfielder Yaya Toure, Ronaldinho's teammate, is expecting Barcelona to overcome the saga and get back to worrying about football.

"The truth is that all of these criticisms of Ronaldinho . . . have surprised me a little," Toure expressed. "We are talking about a great player and I'm convinced this will all be a thing of the past soon enough."

Laporta and Zambrotta support Ronaldinho against criticism

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After a tough week for Ronaldinho, Barcelona president Joan Laporta and defender Gianluca Zambrotta have thrown their support behind their most important star.

Ronaldo de Assis has come under scrutiny for some indifferent performances for Barca this season and his lifestyle off the pitch has also been put in the spotlight, with reports of late-night partying 48 hours before a recent game against Osasuna.

But Barca full-back Zambrotta took the side of his team-mate, saying: 'I don't see it as bad to go out 48 hours before a clash. If it is to drink and get drunk then it is not okay, but if it is just to have a small drink then there is nothing wrong with that.

"In fact, what is important is that on the pitch you always give 100%."

What's more, Blaugrana president Laporta refused to comment on Ronaldinho's private life but insisted the club need to rally around the former two-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

"I think that the only therapy for him is to help him and ensure he does not feel apart," Laporta said. "We need to be together with him. I am sure that he will return to give us plenty of success, like he did before".