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Ronaldinho Heading to MLS: Could He Be the Portland Timbers’ New Designated Player?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

 

Brazilian star Ronaldinho has mutually parted ways with his former club Fluminese after three months and nine games in the Compeonato Brasileiro (Brazilian League). Ronaldinho was a two-time World Player of the Year recipient in '04 and '05 during his four year stint with Spanish giants, Barcelona. In 2002, he helped the Brazilian National Team claim their fifth World Cup title after scoring a nifty free-kick against England in the semi-final game. Ronaldinho has represented some of the most elite soccer clubs around the world. From the likes of the previously mentioned Barcelona, Paris Saint-German (France), and AC Milan (Italy), he helped all these clubs in acquiring silverware during his spell with them. At age 34, the Brazilian play-maker has been regarded as one of the best players of this generation – and he is on the move once more. Moreover, his excursions might finally lead him to Major League Soccer. According to Miles Chambers of Goal.com, the Brazilian star's agent was recently stated, “The MLS needs big time players to increase the appeal of soccer to the American Public. In sports anything can happen, although no one has contacted me yet ...”

The Portland Timbers are currently in the race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Presently, they sit in sixth place, tied on points with the San Jose Earthquakes. When it comes to creating and finishing chances, they are deficient in these departments and should be looking to acquire the services of the veteran midfielder. According to Goal.com, Ronaldinho has been linked to the LA Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls in the past, with the Red Bulls being favorites to land the 35-year-old. It has been reported that the Galaxy signing of Steven Gerrard and Giovanni dos Santos utilized all three of their allowed designated player signings (Robbie Keane being the third). On the other hand, the departure of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill freed up some spots on the Red Bulls roster, giving them an acquisition advantage. The MLS rules states that each team is allowed a maximum three designated player signings on their roster of 28 players. Also, each team has a right to eight international player slots on their roster. There are really no limits to how many international players teams can have because these spots can be traded. Even though there is a possibility of Ronaldinho going to the Red Bulls, there is also a chance of him coming to Portland if franchise owner Merritt Paulson is willing to spend.

The Timbers currently have three designated players: Liam Ridegwell, Diego Valeri and Lucas Melano. Last August, Fanendo Adi was removed from his designated player status to make way for Argentine striker Melano. Furthermore, we saw Darlington Nagbe obtaining his U.S citizenship, thus freeing up an international slot on the Timbers' roster in the process. All of this presents a possibility of the Timbers getting Ronaldinho. Of course they would have to free up another D.P slot, but I’m sure that they could find a way to do so, like they did with Adi last summer. Also, the former World Player of the Year winner price tag would have to be just right for the Timbers to consider such a move. If the purchased player's price tag is above the $436,250,000 mark, the club is then responsible for financing the rest of the transfer. On the other hand, league rules states that if a transfer is done during mid-season, MLS would only spend $218,125,000, leaving the club purchasing the player to make up the difference. Melano was brought to the club for five million U.S dollars from Argentine side Lanus, the same team that Valeri represented while he was in Argentina.  

The Timbers do have a reputation for purchasing South American players, particularly Argentinians. Diego Valeri, Norberto Paparatto, Maximiliano Urruti, and Lucas Melano are all from Argentina and represents the team. Many of the Timbers-faithful would agree that it's time for Mr. Paulson to do his shopping next door to his usual spot. It would be a nice change to have a Brazilian brought to Providence Park, specifically Ronaldinho. Imagine what that could do for ticket and jersey sales? Not that the Timbers are struggling when it comes to selling out the stadium, but they could easily raise ticket prices and people would still come from all over to watch a legend – I mean, hello! We are talking about Ronladinho.

Imagine having Ronaldinho, Nagbe and Valeri in the same midfield? The Timbers needs more “big name players” if they are to have anymore success. It is evident how influential these veteran players are on their respective teams in the MLS. Didier Drogba, Sebastian Giovinco, Robbie Keane and David Villa are just a few examples of foreign players who came and made an immediate impact in the league. Without a doubt, the Timbers acquiring Ronaldinho would do more than just attracting attention; this move would also bolster the Timbers attack, resulting in more goals – something the Timbers desperately need.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Timbers v. San Jose in Pictures

Despite a record-setting offensive night from the Timbers, a 3-3 draw was the final result against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes. Here are pictures from the game.

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

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Photo Credit: Betony Meszaros

 
 

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