|Spanish-language sports daily As publishes two contrasting photos
of bare-chested Barcelona's Brazilian international Ronaldinho last
Friday. The left photo was taken four years ago while the right one was
taken after the club's 2-1 Champions League loss to Liverpool last
Wednesday. The headline reads: "Ronaldinho loses his figure".
Barcelona forward Ronaldinho has
admitted he was keen to prove wrong critics who said he was overweight, after
his side's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Photos of the
26-year-old showing a roll of fat around his
waistband after he had taken off his shirt at the end of
Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League defeat to Liverpool, have sparked a heated
debate about the Brazilian's weight and form.
Newspapers in both Madrid and Barcelona made comparisons about Ronaldinho's
apparent loss of fitness by publishing photos of the forward taken in 2003 and
2004 in which he appeared to be leaner and more muscular.
But having put on a scintillating display in the Nou Camp on Sunday, the
Brazilian stripped to the waist at the end of the match and jokingly challenged
pitchside photographers to snap him.
"I don't have anything to hide. I always change shirts with the other
players," Ronaldinho told reporters.
"Over the last week photos have come out insinuating I'm fat but I feel fine.
I have always looked after myself and am in better shape then ever. With
everything that has been said recently I was motivated to play even better."
In the first half against Bilbao, Ronaldinho was involved in the build up for
the second goal, scored by Xavi, and set up returning Cameroon striker Samuel
Eto'o for the third.
After the break, only the woodwork prevented Ronaldinho from adding to his 16
league goals this season.
The photos of a shirtless Ronaldinho on the front of Monday's newspapers were