It was not the start he would have wanted, but given the circumstances of his debut and his patent lack of fitness, it was probably what we should have expected.

The former World Player of the Year, looking tired, blasted his effort over the bar on his debut for Mexican side Queretaro.

Looking sheepish, Ronaldinho glanced to the heavens, either seeking divine inspiration, or searching for the ball which had flown way over the bar.

It was the closest his new side came to scoring as they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to UANL on Wednesday night.

A full house turned out to watch the game in the Mexican Cup, known locally as the Copa MX, which features teams from the top two divisions.

Ronaldinho signed for Queretaro earlier this month, another stop on an increasingly peripatetic career that has taken him to Gremio, Flamengo and Atletico Mineiro in his homeland, Paris St Germain, Barcelona and Milan.

His career has been steadily going downhill in recent years, his drop in form often attributed to his partying lifestyle. But he remains a big draw and it was to a packed house that he made his Queretaro debut.

The Brazilian’s arrival had attracted huge publicity, not all of it welcome. Last week, he was the victim of racist abuse by a Mexican politician who referred to him as an “ape” after getting stuck in a traffic jam allegedly caused by the player’s official presentation at the Corregidora stadium.

Queretaro demanded an “exemplary punishment” after Carlos Trevino, a member of the PAN party, wrote the insults on his Facebook page.

Trevino has since apologised for his outburst, but the incident has left a bitter taste.