SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Twice World Player of the Year Ronaldinho sold himself short by lacking professionalism, according to the manager who offloaded him to Mexican side Queretaro last month.
Levir Culpi suggested that although the playmaker helped Atletico Mineiro to their first Copa Libertadores title last year, the footballer almost as famous for his carousing as for his incredible skills could have done more.
“It’s a shame he doesn’t want to pay the price of being a professional athlete because he has done it all,” Culpi said in an interview with local newspaper Estado de Minas on Monday.
“I can tell you that big stars such as Kaka help themselves. It’s all about professionalism.”
Ronaldinho, 34, was FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 and won almost every honour possible at Barcelona before returning to Brazil with Atletico.
He sparkled there at first but was disappointing this year.
Culpi, who took over earlier this year, balanced his comments with some praise for the former Gremio and Flamengo playmaker.
“Ronaldinho played a better role here than he did in many other places,” he said. “He left a mark and should be well remembered.”
Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Tony Jimenez