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Armed squadron called to protect Ronaldinho

English.news.cn   2012-09-25 09:15:33            

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Ronaldinho's Atletico Mineiro will be shadowed by a special squadron of armed forces during its visit to Rio for Wednesday's clash against Flamengo.

Authorities are taking no chances as Ronaldinho faces Flamengo for the first time since his controversial departure from the club in May.

Members of the Gepe squadron, a division of Rio's military police, will accompany the team from the moment it arrives in Rio on Tuesday until its departure on Thursday.

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

Violence has long been associated with Brazilian football. Earlier this year a Vasco da Gama fan was shot dead and seven others were injured during clashes between supporters of Vasco da Gama and Flamengo.

Authorities fear the incendiary nature of Ronaldinho's exit from the club could spark unrest among Flamengo fans.

The 32-year-old quit the Rubro-negro on May 31 and filed a 27-million-dollar lawsuit for unpaid wages, bonuses and moral damages.

It followed a turbulent 18 months at Brazil's most popular club in which he was beset by poor form and controversy.

After his departure Flamengo accused the midfielder of regular late-night partying, binge drinking and a lack of commitment to training.

The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year has shown flashes of his best form since joining Atletico Mineiro in June and has helped the club to second in the top-flight standings.

Flamengo is currently 14th, just four points clear of the relegation zone.

Editor: Yamei Wang
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