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Ronaldinho no factor in Brazil defeat

Posted: Saturday July 1, 2006 8:00PM; Updated: Saturday July 1, 2006 8:00PM
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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The Ronaldinho who left the World Cup on Saturday looked nothing like the two-time FIFA Player of the Year who attracted all the attention coming into the tournament.

The Brazilian playmaker failed to impress or to score, a streak that continued Saturday against France, which eliminated Brazil 1-0 in the quarterfinals.

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Ronaldinho called the elimination one of the greatest disappointments of his career.

"The Olympics and [the World Cup] are competitions that are very important and every player would like to do well in them," he said. "It's very sad when we can't."

Ronaldinho played on Brazil's team that was eliminated by Cameroon in the 2000 Olympics.

He was a member of the squad that won Brazil's fifth title at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. He played five matches and scored two goals, including a spectacular free kick against England in the quarterfinals.

He also led Brazil to titles in the 1999 Copa America and the 2000 pre-Olympic tournament, as well as in last year's Confederations Cup in Germany.

But this World Cup he was far from the star who led FC Barcelona to the Spanish league and Champions League titles this season.

Ronaldinho's last goal came May 6 with Barcelona. The midfielder was held scoreless in three warmup matches in which Brazil outscored its opponents -- Swiss club FC Lucerne, Fluminense's under-20 squad and New Zealand -- 25-1.

Though he has 29 goals in 70 caps, Ronaldinho says his main role with the national team "is to help the other players score goals."

He did that twice in Brazil's 4-1 win over Japan last week.

On Saturday, he made no impact.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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