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Dirty Tackle

Ronaldinho drinks from Rogerio Ceni’s water bottle then sets up a goal against him

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Perhaps the most heavily debated goal in Brazil this week came in Atletico-MG's Copa Libertadores match against Sao Paulo. But instead of the usual arguments over fouls, handballs and goal-line technology, this was about whether Ronaldinho pulled off an elaborate ruse involving a water bottle or just got lucky.

In the 13th minute of the match, legendary Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni was kind enough to give Ronaldinho a swig of his water after the Atletico-MG playmaker sustained an injury to his mouth. But immediately after Ronaldinho washed out his mouth and while Ceni was putting his water back, Atletico-MG took a long throw-in to Dinho, who set up a goal for Jo against the unprepared Sao Paulo.

Atletico-MG went on to win 2-0, but the focus remained on that first goal as pundits and commentators claimed it was a planned trick from Ronaldinho, pointing to possible winks and gestures that signalled the plan. The man himself, however, says it was all a matter of happenstance.

Said Ronaldinho (via Globoesporte):

"It was luck. I was wiping my mouth when I saw the referee authorized play. There was nothing rehearsed."

Tricker or luck, that was probably the last time an opposing goalkeeper will offer Ronaldinho his water bottle.

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