Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has defended Ronaldinho from claims that he has been below par since the start of the season.
“It is okay to criticise the team because they have shown they can do better but it is too much to only talk about Ronaldinho,” Rijkaard told radio Catalunya.
“He is a fundamental player for us but he isn’t a robot. Sometimes we forget he is human.”
The Brazilian international was a disappointment at the World Cup and struggled to reproduce his best for Barcelona this season.
“What happened in the World Cup hasn’t affected him. He had the right attitude but his team mates just didn’t connect with him,’ Rijkaard said.
“But it is another thing to talk about the pre-season. Because of contractual obligations he had to play every game and this catches up with you in the end.
“We have seen a drop in his performances but we aren’t worried. We are managing it and he is doing what he can for the team which is the most important thing.”
Meanwhile, Ronaldinho backed Rijkaard’s assessment of his state of form.
“I start every season the same and the team have started similarly. I am getting into it with the team and we are developing together,’ Ronaldinho told El Periodico.
“I am not a machine. My only objective is to help the team and when they need me I will be there.”