EletiofeRonaldinho's criticism of Brazil's Copa América squad part of...

Ronaldinho’s criticism of Brazil’s Copa América squad part of ad campaign for a deodorant

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Sean Leahy

Hours after Ronaldinho delivered a harsh criticism of the team’s roster for the upcoming Copa América on Instagram, the Brazilian soccer legend clarified to say that his words were part of an advertising campaign for a deodorant brand.

Ronaldinho posted on Saturday that Brazil was entering “one of the worst teams in recent years” into Copa América, which begins on Thursday. He added that he was boycotting watching the tournament and would not celebrate any victory by his country.

Later in the day, he backtracked on his original message and said that those words were from a collection of posts from Brazilian fans on social media reacting to head coach Dorival Júnior’s squad and that his goal was to inspire fans to back the team.

“I would never abandon Brazilian football, ever,” Ronaldinho wrote. “And I would never say those things that you saw… In fact, these words came from real Brazilian fans, they are real comments that I saw on the internet… Imagine hearing these messages before playing? It’s not possible, motivation goes down… The support of the fans makes a huge difference for the player, I know what I’m saying.

“Guys, what our boys need is support at this time. The more confidence we show, the more confidence they will have on the field.”

The follow-up post ended with him promoting a deodorant brand.

Ronaldinho knows what it’s like to deliver success to Brazil fans, having played for the national team when it won Copa América in 1999 and the 2002 World Cup.

Raphinha spoke out in support of his teammates before Ronaldinho clarified his comments criticizing the Brazil squad on Instagram. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Raphinha spoke out in support of his teammates before Ronaldinho clarified his comments criticizing the Brazil squad on Instagram. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Before the comments were clarified, one member of the current Brazil squad, Raphinha, spoke out in support of his teammates.

“It was a surprise not only for me but for everyone,” Raphinha said. “I believe you must know me a lot more than I do. He never made a statement like that. He always showed support. He surprised a lot of people.

“I consider him an idol, a reference, and the others here on the team do, too. Everyone looks at him as a reference. It was a blow for us. We don’t agree, I don’t agree.

“I’m going into my third year in the team, and all I see here is dedication, desire and pride to wear this shirt. I don’t agree with what was said about having average players wearing the shirt. I completely disagree. Everyone here has the quality and merit to wear the shirt.

“We found out, from Vinícius Júnior, that Ronaldinho asked for a ticket to see our game these days, so it doesn’t match what was said. Being here, I see everyone’s dedication every day.”

Brazil begins its Copa América schedule on June 24 against Costa Rica before finishing the group stage against Paraguay and Colombia.

Following the conclusion of the tournament next month, Brazil will resume World Cup qualifying in September with matches against Ecuador and Paraguay. They currently sit sixth in the CONMEBOL table, eight points behind the leader, Argentina, with 12 games remaining.

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