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Ronaldinho Blames It All On The Deodorant

Ronaldinho Gaúcho of União sends a kiss to his fans during Futebol Solidário match at Maracana Stadium on May 26, 2024 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The two standout moments after Day 1 of the European Championship were the Albanian fans who tried to instigate their Italian compatriots by snapping pasta noodles (carbohydrate-based crimes with a historical root are always fraught with potential worries), and the ax-and-incendiary-wielding fan shot and wounded by police near the Dutch fan enclave in Hamburg's Reeperbahn.

Hey, you have your sports and we have ours.

But this is the true pull of the sport that never ends. In a summer in which most leagues are off, there were still 100 games on Saturday and 75 more on Sunday. And unlike the NFL, which has fewer games in a year than international soccer has in an extended weekend, the games aren't the only thing that never end. So does the weirdness.

Which is why the Euros, while capable of oddities, cannot hold a candle to the last few days around the Brazilian team that drew 1-1 with the U.S. Men's National Team in the exotically named Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The Brazilian national team is what happens when you combine the Yankees, Cowboys, Lakers, and Maple Leafs into a single unit of national interest, and when crazy time happens, as it occasionally does, it puts all the other teams and fan bases in the world to shame, even those pappardelle-snapping Albanians.

So it was when historically brilliant Brazilian star Ronaldinho comprehensively ripped the Brazilian team after the U.S. draw. Li'l Ronnie spared nothing and nobody in an Instagram post, which included condemnations that have been Anglicized for your amusement.

"That's it folks, I've had enough," Ronaldinho wrote. "This is a sad moment for those who love Brazilian soccer. It's getting hard to find the spirit to watch the games. This is perhaps one of the worst teams in recent years, it has no respectable leaders, only average players for the majority.

"I've been following football since I was a kid, long before I thought about becoming a player, and I've never seen a situation as bad as this. There's a lack of love for the shirt, a lack of grit and the most important of all: football.

"I'll repeat, our performance has been one of the worst things I've ever seen. Such a shame.

"I therefore declare my resignation. I will not watch any CONMEBOL Copa América game, nor celebrate any victory."

Stephen A. Smith couldn't manage that after a Knicks loss to Charlotte, and Stephen A. is no Ronaldinho.

Predictably, this apparent rhetorical treachery became Topic A in Brazil, one that surely couldn't be walked back. But ahhhhhh, that's where you're wrong, Skippy, because anything can be walked back, even if it's with a pronounced limp. Li'l Ronnie had some serious repairs to instigate after his 21-gun firing squad salute, and to his credit he brought the turbo-absurd.

In sum, he claimed his quotes were actually fan posts recreated for a deodorant ad. Rexona, in case you have a pharmacy trip planned for today.

This is a level of marketing with which we are not terribly familiar. Usually, the spokespeople try to get the customer on his, her, or their side, and ripping the national side as a preamble to "smell better with this underarm glop we're peddling" is a fascinating trick. It's a far less clever version of the old beer ad Diego Maradona did back in the day, imagining a nightmare in which he played for Brazil rather than his homeland of Argentina.

And, of course, nobody is buying it, truthful or not. Barcelona and Brazil star Raphinha was quoted as saying Saturday, "It was a surprise not only for me but for everyone. 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."

And then, to add that extra bit of spice, he also marked Li'l Ronnie as nothing more than a yesteryear ticket scammer.

"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."

In the United States, that's the diamond lane to Fist City. In Brazil ... well, who knows what the power of deodorant advertising is? It's certainly more potent than spaghetti snapping, though let's not sleep on those zany Albanians. Who knows what ziti-based social commentaries they still have up their sleeves.

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