Barcelona refuses to release Ronaldinho for Olympics

July 10th, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, July 10 (Xinhua) Spanish football club Barcelona has refused to release Brazilian striker Ronaldinho to take part in the Beijing Olympics next month. On Tuesday, Brazil’s coach Dunga named Ronaldinho as one of the three players aged over 23 years-old in his squad for Beijing. The squad will get together for the first time on July 22.

However, after seeing how Ronaldinho was well below his full fitness for all of last season, his club wants him back to start pre-season training for the new campaign.

“Barcelona have called Ronaldinho up to return to training on July 14 with the rest of the members of the first team squad,” said an announcement on the official FC Barcelona website.

“The footballer is included in the list that the Brazilian Football Federation has published for the Olympic Games. The Games do not appear in the FIFA calendar, nor is there any special decision on that respect,” explain the club.

Last season saw Barcelona finish a disappointing third in Spain’s Primera Liga and because of this they need to play a qualifying round in order to reach the lucrative group stage of the Champions League.

“In recent weeks, technical secretary Txiki Bergiristain has repeatedly said that Barca’s objective has always been to count on the maximum number of players for the qualifying round,” Barcelona said.

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