Ronaldinho to Be Protected by Brazilian Special Forces When Atletico Mineiro Visits Flamengo


Ronaldinho to Be Protected by Brazilian Special Forces When Atletico Mineiro Visits FlamengoTo say there is bad blood between Ronaldinho and Flamengo is a massive understatement.

The former FIFA Player of the Year will be protected by a special police force when he returns to Flamengo with Atletico Mineiro (his current team) on Wednesday, Xinhua reports.

The Gepe squadron, a specialized unit of Rio de Janeiro's military police, will shadow Atletico Mineiro throughout its stay in Rio (from Tuesday through Thursday).

"We will have 180 Gepe officers at the game as well as most members from the local battalion and riot police," Xinhua reports Gepe chief commander Joao Fiorentini said. "In total there will be 450 or 500 police at the venue."

After starring in various European soccer leagues for over a decade, Ronaldinho joined Flamengo in January 2011. The highly publicized move was supposed to propel Brazil's biggest club to glory, but it didn't quite happen that way (Flamengo finished fourth in the 2011 Brazilian Serie A), and Ronaldinho was blamed by fans and management alike.

Things continued to sour in the early part of this year, and the 2002 FIFA World Cup winner finally left the club in May. On the way out the door, he sued for over $20 million in unpaid salaries and delayed payments. Flamengo then launced legal action against him.

Ronaldinho moved to Atletico Mineiro a few days later, and his new team is enjoying a fine season. It is second in Serie A coming into Wednesday's game against 14th-placed Flamengo, and authorities are taking special precautions for the meeting.

It's unknown who is paying for the extra security measures, but they shouldn't bother asking Ronaldinho. The 32-year-old playmaker lost a $750,000 Coca-Cola sponsorship in July after he drank from a Pepsi can during a news conference.

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