The rumor mill moves swiftly where Ronaldinho is concerned. Scarcely two weeks ago, he was reported to be planning his retirement: not true, said the man himself. But he is apparently unsettled at current club Queretaro, and the rumor mill will not allow a restless Ronaldinho to linger on the outs in Liga MX for long. It was reported that he was close to a mid-summer move to Cruzeiro in Brazil: also not true, said Dinho's brother, Assis, and executives within the club.
Now Assis has gone on the record to say not only does he expect his brother to leave Queretaro in the summer, but that a move to MLS is a possibility:
Ronaldo plays up the middle of the year and then we'll look for another home. The MLS's out and about and need a player of his level, to increase the interest of American football.
And no lesser a source than mlssoccer.com.br (which appears to be an unofficial Brazilian satellite of the league's digital mothership) makes an important point:
In the past, the Brazilian star has been suggested as a possible strengthening of the New York Red Bulls and Los Angeles Galaxy.
This is true. Dinho was linked to MLS in March of this year. And last December (Orlando City was mentioned at that time). And in November (LA Galaxy was the alleged target). And in July, when he was a free agent and reportedly met with the New York Red Bulls.
Currently, and as recently reiterated by Queretaro, Ronaldinho is understood to be under contract until 2016. It is not clear how that information factors in to Assis's statement that his brother will "look for another home" this summer.
Dinho is a player of considerable reputation, one of soccer's rare and wonderful entertainers. He is also 35, and he'll turn 36 near the beginning of MLS's 2016 season. And while his gift for the game he has made his career is remarkable, he also has a reputation for enjoying the off-field opportunities afforded by fame and fortune.
Does he offer sufficient value to a team in a salary-capped league for not only the superstar-caliber wage one imagines he would expect, but also the transfer fee Queretaro might want in exchange for letting their player walk out on the last year of his contract?
Maybe. He's very good, very well known, and very popular. If he really is on the market (as opposed to gently reminding his current club that he has other options if he's not going to get much playing time), he will have suitors from around the world. No reason to believe MLS teams won't be among them.
But the new-look Red Bulls probably won't be one of those teams. RBNY is committed to being younger, faster, and less star-powered. Ronaldinho doesn't quite seem to fit the bill any more.
Nonetheless, Once A Metro applauds the rumor mill for working so quickly to give us the Dinho-to-MLS whispers we'd been waiting for, and looks forward to the inevitable emergence of specific clubs alleged to be coveting his services.