Rio de Janeiro: Fluminense coach Enderson Moreira has leapt to the defence of Brazilian football star Ronaldinho after the 35-year-old was jeered by his own fans in a 1-2 loss to Atletico Mineiro.
Ronaldinho was replaced in the 68th minute on Sunday after a discreet performance against his former club at the Maracana Stadium. The former Barcelona and AC Milan attacker is yet to score in six matches since joining Fluminense in July, reports Xinhua.
Moreira said the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year winner was still seeking rhythm, having not played regularly since leaving Mexico's Queretaro in June.
"It's the price he is paying for that period of inactivity. We are looking for the right path for him to take. It's not easy. World football is competitive," Moreira said.
"First of all what he needs is sequence of matches, then good preparation. He is a player of extreme quality but he is behind the others in terms of fitness and it is showing."
The result lifted Atletico Mineiro to second in the standings while Fluminense slipped to sixth. Ronaldinho riled some Fluminense supporters by posing for photographs after the match with his former Atletico teammates.
Goalkeeper Victor posted one of the images on his Facebook page along with the words: "Great victory! Fundamental in the race for first place. A reunion with this great man!"
World Cup winner Ronaldinho remains an idol at Atletico Mineiro, who he helped win the 2013 Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club trophy.
Photos: 'Dangal' girls Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Shaikh's dinner outing
Photos: Salman Khan, Daisy Shah spotted at the Mumbai airport
Photos: Rakhi Sawant to play Honeypreet in Ram Rahim biopic
Photos: Arvind Kejriwal asks Kamal Haasan to join politics
Photos: TV actress who played goddesses on the small screen