Barca reject Ronaldinho fitness fears

February 24, 2007

Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard has downplayed concerns about star player Ronaldinho's fitness.

GettyImagesRonaldinho pictured after the Liverpool game.

The Brazilian's form has not matched his own high standards this season and he was photographed after Wednesday's Champions League defeat by Liverpool apparently looking overweight.

Rijkaard does not believe the matter to be a major issue and feels the photographs published were misleading.

The Dutchman said: 'When the photo is taken quite close by, with inadequate light or if there is some movement, it can vary the reality a lot and, in this instance, for me there are doubts.

'In any case, we have a medical team who always control the physical state of the players and, when there is something brought to their attention, they work with the player to resolve it.

'The player has always given great performances, and I have total confidence in him and we should be happy to have him with us. I think he is as he always is, cheerful and unaffected. For me, there's no problem.'

Rijkaard is confident Ronaldinho, who has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp in the summer, can rediscover his best and has hit out at critics.

He added: 'It is such a pity to see how people change opinion so easily about a player who has given so much to this club.

'Thanks to his strength of mind Ronnie has got where he is today, winning titles and prizes on the way.'