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Ronaldinho scores on his Liga MX debut

September 22, 2014
Ronaldinho scored one and assisted one on his Liga MX debut for Queretaro.

Ronaldinho scored one and assisted one on his Liga MX debut for Queretaro.

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho scored a penalty just six minutes into his Mexican league debut and produced a sublime second-half assist as Queretaro beat Chivas de Guadalajara 4-1 in the Omnilife Stadium on Sunday.

Ronaldinho had made a less than impressive first appearance for Queretaro in Mexico’s domestic cup competition last Wednesday, misplacing many passes and sending a penalty way over the bar in a 1-0 defeat to Tigres. But he soon banished any memories of that miss when former Fulham defender Carlos Salcido was sent off for making a goalkeeper’s save in the fifth minute.

This time Ronaldinho made no mistake, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and sliding the ball into the bottom right-hand corner. The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year then celebrated his first goal in Mexico with his customary dance moves, much to the crowd’s delight.

Deployed at center-forward – a more advanced position than he has traditionally occupied – Ronaldinho benefitted from having fewer responsibilities as well as the increased space created by Salcido’s early exit. He rarely broke out of a trot, but still showed plenty of menace, coming close to scoring a second with an acrobatic flick in the 35th minute.

Although he saw less of the ball in the second half, Ronaldinho played a key role in the goal that killed off the game, sliding an inch-perfect ball through to the excellent Camilo Sanvezzo, who finished with aplomb. Having effectively won the match for his side, the Brazilian was then substituted to rapturous applause after 78 minutes.

Despite Chivas raising prices, the Estadio Omnilife was also almost full for Ronaldinho's debut.

Despite Chivas raising prices, the Estadio Omnilife was also almost full for Ronaldinho’s debut.

But that was not the end of the action. Ronaldinho’s compatriot William da Silva added a third for Queretaro with a low, long-range strike before Giovani Hernandez netted a consolation goal for Chivas with a wonderful free kick curled into the top right corner. With the home side having long since given up, Queretaro substitute Othoniel Arce then fired in a fourth with the last kick of an entertaining game.

Ronaldinho is now the third Barcelona star to have played in the Mexican league. His former team mate Rafael Marquez won consecutive titles with Leon over the course of the last year, while Pep Guardiola – the man who sold Ronaldinho upon becoming Barcelona coach in 2008 – ended his playing career with a five-month stint at Dorados de Sinaloa.

Ronaldinho, who was called a monkey by a member of Mexico’s right-wing National Action Party (PAN) only last week, has often found a way of proving his critics wrong while maintaining a smile on his face. Many had dismissed his move to Queretaro as little more than a marketing stunt by the Mexican club but the 2002 World Cup winner showed on Sunday that he still has the talent to make a decisive impact at this level.

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