Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Friends Weigh in for Ronaldo

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Friends Weigh in for Ronaldo

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Stone

Gilberto Silva has dismissed claims Ronaldo is too fat to flaunt his skills for Brazil at this summer's World Cup.

The world champions have so far failed to hit the heights expected of them, and Ronaldo's weight and contribution to the South Americans' cause has been called into question.

Ronaldo's team-mates see no reason for the criticism, with Gilberto leading the tributes.

"Everybody in our squad supports Ronaldo because we know how important he is to us," said the Arsenal midfielder.

"There is a lot of speculation that he is not good enough anymore or he is not fit. It is total rubbish.

"Ronaldo will make a difference for us in this tournament, of that I am sure. He was top scorer in 2002 and we want him to do the same thing again.

"His performance against Australia was better than his one against Croatia and I know he can improve even more as the competition progresses."

He was totally ineffective in the opening win over Croatia and was then forced to undergo midweek tests in a Frankfurt hospital after complaining of dizziness, so it was a mild surprise that coach Carlos Alberto Parreira kept faith with the 29-year-old Real Madrid star for Sunday's clash against Australia. …

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