Barcelona sets 72-hour deadline to trade off Ronaldinho

July 15th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of AC Milan
DPA
Madrid/Barcelona, July 15 (DPA) Barcelona has set a 72-hour deadline to trade off out-of-form superstar Ronaldinho, the player’s brother and agent Roberto de Assis said after meeting with club officials. Ronaldinho currently has two offers, his agent said - one from Manchester City and the other from AC Milan. Barcelona likes the first, because it gives the Catalan giant 32 million euros (some $50.7 million).

Ronaldinho prefers the second offer. The main problem is that Milan is reportedly offering half as much as the Premier League club.

While all this means that the case around the striker would soon end, it also seems to be one of only a few certainties in a row where several doubts remain.

Another certainty is that come what may, Barcelona is not willing to keep the controversial player for another year.

When Ronaldinho finally returned to Barcelona from Brazil, he did so incognito. But he went to the Camp Nou to talk to representatives of the club that still pays his salary, even though he underwent no physical tests like the rest of the squad did.

Should negotiations not end successfully within 72 hours, fallen star Dinho would join training with Barcelona, although coach Josep Guardiola has repeatedly made it clear that he does not want the striker.

On Monday, Ronaldinho and his brother met Guardiola, club sports director Txiki Begiristain and football director Raul Sanhelli at the Camp Nou.

Before meeting Barcelona officials, Roberto de Assis had talked to Milan vice president Adriano Galliani and scout Ernesto Bronzetti, who were staying in the Catalan city.

Milan reportedly got nervous over the Manchester City offer - which has been confirmed by Barcelona - and its official travelled to Spain to check on the status of negotiations.

In any case, it seemed unlikely that Milan would match the amount offered by the Premiership club. Ronaldinho’s desire to play at the Italian club is bound to work in Milan’s favour.

If the talks break down, Barcelona plans to have the player join the pre-season training. But, this does not mean that he will ever play an official game for the club again. It is more a way to put pressure on Ronaldinho.

“The two sides have also reasserted their wish that Ronaldinho should leave the club in the way he deserves after the enormous contribution he has made in his five seasons at FC Barcelona,” the club website said.

Guardiola, in turn, left no room for any last minute change.

“The club is very grateful to Ronnie for everything he has done for Barca,” the coach told a press conference. “People will have marvellous memories of him.”
DPA

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