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Leonardo Puts Pressure on Ronaldinho

  • Reuters, Friday, August 21, 2009 4:15 PM
"He's getting better, he's returning. It's now or never," AC Milan coach Leonardo said of Brazilian star Ronaldinho before the club's league opener. "Now is his moment for Milan and for the national team." The twice FIFA World Player of the Year's form has slid noticeably since 2006. But Leonardo says he has seen encouraging signs. "It was beautiful to see him in training today," the coach said. "He must do what he did today all the time. I'll do everything to get him and the whole team at their best."

Despite a rough preseason campaign, in which Milan won just two out of 11 games, Leonardo says the experience has helped him understand his team. "I wasn't expecting such a hard month but today I feel much stronger, more inside the team," he said. A new coach, Leonardo says he's enjoying the challenge of motivating players. "I've understood lots of things and I like being a coach more and more because finding responses from the players pushes me forward."

Ronaldinho might be Leonardo's most important project. The departure of star Kaka means Ronaldinho will have more responsibility to prove himself a game-changer in Serie A.

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