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‘Brazil Far From Top Class,’ Says Former Canarinho Legend Ronaldo

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Retired Brazilian star striker Ronaldo says is no longer a top-class team in .

“Brazil played badly in the this year, with wrong plans and (player) choices,” the three-time World Player of the Year said during an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Beijing on Wednesday.

“And Brazil is now very far from the best in this field in South America.”

In addition to Brazil’s early exit, another shocking news regarding this year’s Copa America is that superstar announced his retirement from international football after lost to Chile in the Copa America final for the second straight time.

“It is an extremely personal choice of Messi and we have to respect,” Ronaldo said. “We all fell abandoned by Messi, and hope he can change his decision.”

Ronaldo, who has been following international football action closely since retiring in 2011, said he was impressed by the game between Italy and at Euro 2016.

“They represent the most advanced football level around Europe,” said the 40-year-old.

Ronaldo did not forget the match with China at the FIFA World Cup in 2002. “The score of 4-0 could not represent the difficulty of the victory,” he said. “The tough performance of Chinese players created many troubles to us.”

Despite the progress that Chinese football has made over recent years and the influx of foreign big-name coaches and players to the Chinese league, Ronaldo believed that the future of Chinese football relies on the children.

Last November, Ronaldo announced to launch the “Ronaldo Academy” project in China. “I came back this time because I felt your great will to develop football,” he said.

According to him, a new school will soon be ready to open in each Shanghai and Zhengzhou, capital city of central China’s Henan Province.

Up till now, the “Ronaldo Academy” are running six schools in China, and Ronaldo plans to open 30 around the country. The schools train kids from six to 18 years old in both cultural education and footballing skills.

“We have our own teaching system and methodology,” said Ronaldo, who was granted as the charity ambassador by the China Children and Teenagers’ Fund.

Paulo Swerts, CEO of Ronaldo Football (China) Co., Ltd., said they will introduce 30 to 40 Brazilian coaches to China by the end of this year.

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