Ronaldinho, Riquelme could end retirement and play for Brazil club Chapecoense

Highlight StoryArgentina’s Juan Roman Riquelme, 38, retired from professional football in 2014 while the 36-year-old Ronaldinho of Brazil last played for Fluminese in 2015. (Getty Images)

 

The tragedy that hit the Chapecoense football club could get Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme out of retirement, according to reports in the Brazilian media.

“It is a very difficult time,” Ronaldinho’s manager and brother Roberto Assis told Globo Esporte, according to a Fox Sports. “Later on, if there is a contact, we can talk. “I can only say that we are here and we want to help.

“He (Ronaldinho) fits the profile, can be the right guy. But the moment is to help families and it would be (wrong) to create expectations for now. As Brazilians, we feel involved. We are together.”

Assis was reacting to reports that his brother and Riquelme could play for the club, which lost 19 players in an air crash that killed 71 people, as it tries to rebuild itself. Three survivors of the team are in hospital in Colombia.

Ronaldinho, 36, last played for Fluminese in 2015. Argentine Riquelme is 38 and hasn’t played professional football since 2014.

Chapecoense have already been told by next opponents Atletico Mineiro that they would forego the match, their last, in the Brazilian league on December 11.

“We believe in sport. We respect the pain. It’s not the moment to demand that players play this match,” said Daniel Nepomuceno, the president of Atletico Mineiro. The CBF, Brazil’s national federation, has called for seven days of mourning.

Chapecoense were travelling to Medellin in Colombia to play the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, the continent’s equivalent of the Europa League.

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