Ronaldinho wants to play at '12 Games

Updated: September 29, 2011, 1:14 PM ET
Associated Press

SAO PAULO -- Ronaldinho wants to play for Brazil at the 2012 Olympics and win a gold medal to cap his career.

The 31-year-old playmaker regained his spot on the national team after returning to Brazilian soccer at the start of the year. Now he wants to be on the squad in London.

"My dream is to win the gold medal in the Olympics," Ronaldinho said after Brazil's 2-0 win over Argentina in an exhibition Wednesday in Belem. "It's a title still missing in my career."

Ronaldinho has won the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, the Champions League, the Copa America, the FIFA Club World Cup and several other major titles -- but no Olympic gold.

Ronaldinho has played twice in the tournament, but without great success. He was a starter on the team eliminated by Cameroon in the quarterfinals of the 2000 Sydney Games and was on the squad that won bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games. Brazil did not qualify for the 2004 Athens Games.

The two-time FIFA player of the year said playing in London will help him get in position to make the team for the 2014 World Cup.

"I want to go step by step," said Ronaldinho, who will be 34 when Brazil hosts the World Cup. "Being in the Olympics will help me get to the World Cup, which is my ultimate goal."

The Olympic tournament is played with under-23 squads, but each team can use up to three players older than 23. Ronaldinho was one of those picks in the Beijing Games, when Brazil lost to Argentina in the semifinals.

Ronaldinho played well in Brazil's victory over Argentina on Wednesday, when young stars Lucas and Neymar scored a goal each in the second half to help the Brazilians clinch the Superclassic of the Americas title, a home-and-away series between the South American soccer powerhouses. The teams, using domestic players only, drew 0-0 two weeks ago in the first leg at Cordoba, Argentina.

"It's great to be able to play with these youngsters," Ronaldinho said. "Neymar, Lucas and these other young players are the future of the national team. I'm here to help them with my experience, and I think it's working."

Ronaldinho helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, but Brazil was eliminated by France in the quarterfinals of the 2006 tournament in Germany. The former Barcelona star did not make the team for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He regained his place in the national team after thriving with popular club Flamengo, which signed the playmaker from AC Milan in the start of 2011 in what was considered the biggest acquisition by a Brazilian club.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press