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Ronaldinho quits Flamengo, sues club for unpaid wages

Rio De Janeiro: Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho has quit Flamengo and is suing the club for a reported $20 million for unpaid wages and delayed payments.The 32-year-old was granted a court injunction in Rio Thursday to terminate his contract, ending a turbulent 16-month period at Brazil’s biggest club, Xinhua reports.Ronaldinho alleges Flamengo breached his contract due to months of outstanding salaries and image rights.”Ronaldinho had his contract legally terminated as we had hoped,” Ronaldinho’s lawyer Gislaine Nunes told Sportv.In a note on his facebook page, the former Barcelona and AC Milan star expressed his gratitude towards fans and his sorrow at leaving on bad terms.”Many times I ignored the fact that I wasn’t receiving my salary or other payments that were agreed upon,” Ronaldinho said.”This year, despite the contractual problems getting worse, I continued giving my all on the pitch.”I appreciate all the support I have been given since I arrived and can say from the bottom of my heart that playing for Flamengo was an honour.”Flamengo president Patricia Amorim expressed surprise at the playmaker’s decision.”We didn’t expect an attitude like this,” Amorim said in a note on the club’s official website.”Now the matter is in the hands of our legal department which will take the necessary measures to protect the interests of the club.”Flamengo is bigger than one individual and it always will be.”Flamengo’s legal director Rafael De Piro described the amount demanded by Ronaldinho as “absurd”. He added the club would comment further when it knew more about the details of Ronaldinho’s claims.It marks the end of a bitter period at the Rio de Janeiro club in which Ronaldinho scored just 28 goals from 72 appearances. He arrived in January last year to a hero’s reception with 20,000 fans attending his welcoming party.But the midfielder’s performances failed to live up to the fanfare, or his reported $700,000 monthly salary.In recent months fans began losing patience with the two-time FIFA world player of the year. He was roundly booed by supporters in his final matches for the club and was considered the chief culprit for Flamengo’s early exit from this year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s elite club competition.Compounding fans’ indignation have been constant reports of Ronaldinho’s night-time escapades and his regular absences from training.”Throughout his time here he revealed his lack of discipline and that never changed,” De Piro said. “Without doubt Flamengo will be better off without him.”Ronaldinho had not been seen at the club this week after he was granted leave to visit his ill mother.

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