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Players backing Ronaldo

15 Jun 2006 - 10:45:34

Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva is confident Ronaldo will hit peak form before the end of the World Cup.

The Real Madrid striker was hauled off after 69 minutes of the Selecao's 1-0 Group F victory against Croatia on Tuesday having been unable to make an impact on the game.

His dreadful performance followed a season in which he has struggled for form and fitness at club level, but Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira still plans to name him in the starting line-up to face Australia on Saturday.

Gilberto told BBC Sport: "It was the same at the last World Cup when people said he (Ronaldo) was not going to play anymore.

"He ended up the top scorer in the tournament and we won the World Cup. He wants to show that again.

"We are here to help him improve because it is not just him but the team.

"There are 11 players plus those on the bench. If one needs help then we are here along with the coach as well.

"Everybody is supporting him but we cannot put all the pressure on him.

"A lot of people are saying Ronaldo did not play his best, but against Croatia it was not just him.

"It was the team who did not perform their best. Of course, he will improve."


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