Barcelona president Joan Laporta has criticised manager Frank Rijkaard’s handling of Ronaldinho.
The Brazilian playmaker was used as a substitute for the first time since his 2003 arrival from Paris Saint Germain in Barca’s recent UEFA Champions League match with Werder Bremen.
Ronaldinho, who has struggled for form this season, was again relegated to the bench in Barca’s 1-1 Primera Liga draw with Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Saturday.
Laporta is adamant that Ronaldinho is not best suited to a substitute’s role.
“You can’t consider Ronaldinho a substitute, he’s a fundamental player in our team,” said Laporta.
“Because of circumstances of injuries and because of travel with his national selection he hasn’t found his rhythm.
“But I don’t believe he’s a substitute, he’s a fundamental footballer and Rijkaard knows it.”