Ronaldinho seemed determined to make a few of the local journalists eat their words at the camp nou last night after the Brazilian put in the kind of performance that left even the most cynical of observers salivating.
El Periodico’s now famous before and after pictures of the supposedly overweight star lit the fuse for an explosive performance. The player even displayed his midriff for watching millions at the end of the match. Unfortunately, that hasn’t prevented some observers from speculating on just how Ronaldinho managed to lose so much weight in such a short space of time and the conspiracy theories are doing the rounds.
Ronaldinho’s performance was the most fitting response imaginable to silence his numerous critics. Even the Independent’s James Lawson got in on the act last week, so widely assumed has the player’s demise been heralded. El Mundo Deportivo came to Ronnie’s rescue on Wednesday when it published a set of statistics that proved that without his goals this season; Barcelona would be languishing in fourth place in La Liga.
Unfortunately, Ronaldinho has raised expectations so high, that in the eyes of many it is not enough for him to have his most successful season in Spain in terms of goals scored. His critics see him as some sort of performing seal and it is starting to take its toll on the player. He's growing tired of the criticism and it is easy to see why.
Samuel Eto’o’s first start since September gave everyone involved with Barcelona cause to smile for the first time in a while. The 3-0 win over a floundering Athletic Bilbao a welcome tonic made all the sweeter by the knowledge that their fellow title challengers all faltered at the weekend.
However, whilst all eyes were on Ronaldinho’s midriff and Eto’o’s posturing, the real star of the show was Andres Iniesta. The midfielder worked tirelessly in midfield and his willingness to help out in all departments was only surpassed by his outstanding distribution in possession.
Whilst the press obsess over Ronaldinho’s waistline; Iniesta continues to grow in stature.