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Ronaldinho offers support for Chapecoense

AAP logoAAP 2/12/2016

Former Brazil forward Ronaldinho is determined to do what he can to help Chapecoense's efforts to rebuild after the devastating plane crash in Colombia, according to his brother.

The charter jet carrying the Chapecoense team, along with club officials and journalists, to Medellin for their Copa Sudamericana final match against Colombian side Atletico Nacional came down late on Monday night.

Chapecoense's acting president Ivan Tozzo says the club - which came up through the lower divisions after only being founded in 1973 - is determined to build again, but that can only be done with support of the wider football community.

Brazil's leading football clubs have already pledged to loan players to Chapecoense for free and asked for them to be safeguarded from relegation from the top flight for the next three seasons.

Reports also emerged Ronaldinho would be willing to offer his services for free to Chapecoense, which saw messages posted on the official Facebook page of the 36-year-old 2002 World Cup winner urging him to pull his boots on once again.

Roberto Assis, the player's brother and agent, confirmed in an interview with Brazilian media outlet Globo Esporte that Ronaldinho had been deeply moved by the tragic events and wanted to help, although ruled out an immediate prospect of a return to action.

"He (Ronaldinho) fits the profile, can be the right guy, but the moment is to help families and it would be (wrong) to create expectations for now," Assis said.

"The fact people remember Ronaldinho's name shows that he is loved and also because he is now without a club. As Brazilians, we all feel involved, we are together.

"But now it is a very difficult time with what has just happened.

"I do not know whether there would be a game or some kind of link, but later on if there is contact, we can talk.

"I can only say that we are here and we want to help."

Officials from Colombia's civil aviation authority believe the plane had run out of fuel when it went down some 11 miles from the Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport.

The 'black box' flight recorders from the British Aerospace 146 plane have been retrieved and are being brought back to the UK to be examined in Farnborough.

A full investigation into the crash of the 17-year-old British Aerospace aircraft is expected to take months.

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