MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Ronaldinho missed a penalty on his debut for Mexican side Queretaro who lost 1-0 at home to UANL on Wednesday, frustrating a packed crowd who had turned out to watch the 34-year-old Brazilian.
The former World Player of the Year, clearly short of match fitness, fired his effort over the bar in the 61st minute, having surprisingly been kept on for the second half despite looking tired.
A full house turned out to watch the game in the Mexican Cup, known locally as the Copa MX, which features teams from the top two divisions.
Ronaldinho, a World Cup winner in 2002, signed for the White Roosters earlier this month, making Queretaro an unlikely stop on a career that has already taken him to Gremio, Flamengo and Atletico Mineiro in his homeland, Paris St Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan.
He was voted FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, but his career has been steadily going downhill since then, his drop in form often blamed on his partying lifestyle.
Last week, he was victim of a racist insult by a Mexican politician who referred to Ronaldinho as an “ape” after getting stuck in a traffic jam allegedly caused by the player’s official presentation at the Corregidora stadium.
Queretaro demanded an “exemplary punishment” after Carlos Trevino, a member of the PAN party, wrote the insults on his Facebook page, which were later removed.
“I try to be tolerant but I detest football...even more so because the people block the avenues and it takes two hours to get home...and all to see an ape,” he wrote. “A Brazilian but still an ape.”
Trevino has since apologised for his outburst.
Reporting by Carlos Calvo; Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Amlan Chakraborty