Ronaldinho’s son leaves fans baffled with new position at Barcelona

Ronaldinho’s son has left fans baffled with his new position after changing from his former role at Barcelona.

Joao Mendes, 19, joined Barcelona last year, initially on a trial.

He struggled to impress but club president Joan Laporta ensured an extension.

And the youngster eventually signed officially for his dad’s former team in March 2023.

Mendes initially started out as an attacker – scoring and creating goals like his famous World Cup-winning father.

However, after struggling for minutes, new footage of him in action for Barcelona Under-19s revealed he is starring in a very different position… as a left-back.

The compilation video shows No5 Mendes putting in some strong tackles, marauding down the left wing, displaying some neat footwork, linking up with team-mates and even taking a throw-in.

And the clips – shared on TikTok – sparked a flurry of comments reacting to the son of one of the most skilful, flair footballers ever seen being deployed in defence, in a “reverse of Bukayo Saka” who switched from full-back to winger at Arsenal.

One said: “They made bro a LB.”

Another wrote: “I respect the kid a lot tho. He’s Ronaldinho’s son and he’s not bitter about being moved to left-back, you can tell he’s really trying to.”

A third added: “Born to play RW forced to play LB.”

A fourth commented: “If he can’t cook as a winger he can stop them.”

A fifth responded: “Imagine that you are the son of Ronaldinho and you also get blessed being left footed and at the end of the day you end playing as a left-back that’s crazy.”

And a final user replied: “This shows how a position changing can change everything.”

Mendes – born in 2005 in the year his dad won the Ballon d’Or – struggled to make an impact after joining Barcelona.

He made his debut in a friendly against Manchester United youth team but then had to wait months for his next run-out in the Mediterranean International Cup.

The left-footed youngster’s contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season and it is unclear if he will be offered a new deal.

Newcastle join Chelsea in race for Arsenal star

Newcastle United have reportedly rekindled interest in Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale ahead of a potential summer move.

Ramsdale is keen to play regular Premier League football again after being reduced to an understudy role following the arrival of David Raya from Brentford. Ramsdale is assessing his options and Newcastle are among those interested as they look to bolster their squad.

Chelsea have equalled reportedly expressed their desire to sign Ramsdale.

Newcastle have Martin Dubravka as their current number one with Nick Pope expected to make his comeback from a dislocated shoulder at the end of April. Dubravka is 35 while Pope turns 32 this month and Newcastle want a younger option as they plan the next phase of their recruitment.

Manager Eddie Howe is a big admirer of Ramsdale after signing him at Bournemouth from Sheffield United. He also gave the keeper a second chance after he slept in and missed the bus for a Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea.

Ramsdale was fined and sent on loan to AFC Wimbledon but gave credit to Howe for the manner in which he managed the situation and described it as ‘a penny dropping moment’ in his career.

Ramsdale was bought back by Sheffield United for £18.5million before being sold on to Arsenal in 2021 for £30m.

Despite an outstanding first season for Ramsdale, Mikel Arteta brought in Raya from Brentford to increase competition and for his better distribution which has so far worked out with Arsenal once again challenging for the title.

Mindful Ramsdale is preparing to move on, Arsenal have also been looking at Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, as have the likes of Manchester United, for the summer.

Much could depend on their asking price for Ramsdale but Newcastle have posted their interest and will be in the market to strengthen the goalkeeping position.