Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Deco no longer wanted, says Barcelona coachJune 18th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS
Madrid, June 18 (DPA) Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Deco are no longer wanted at FC Barcelona. That was the unequivocal message given, loud and clear, by new Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola at his official presentation Tuesday.
“Deco, Ronaldinho and Eto’o are not in our plans,” he said.
It was an open secret for weeks that Barca were keen to offload this troublesome trio. Until now, however, this had not been stated clearly in public.
All three players have become unpopular at the Camp Nou after two trophy-less seasons marred by dressing-room unrest and rumours of unprofessional night lives.
The former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho missed most of the season with a series of mysterious injuries that the club doctors could not detect.
Eto’o and Deco allegedly picked up yellow cards deliberately in order to miss an away game against champions Real Madrid - who then thrashed Barca 4-1.
The appointment of Guardiola, 37, by Barca has raised eyebrows across Europe, due to his lack of top-line coaching experience.
Guardiola was one of the pillars of Johan Cruyff’s Barca “Dream Team” of the 1990s - and Cruyff, top advisor to embattled club president Joan Laporta, has approved his appointment, to replace the sacked Frank Rijkaard.
Guardiola’s only coaching experience consists of having guided the Barca B nursery team to promotion from the third to the second division this season.
“I am grateful for the confidence that the club has placed in me,” he said at the press conference, in which he was flanked by Laporta and sporting director Txiki Begiristain.
“I feel that I will not fail, that I am prepared. It will be a difficult project but I will persist.”
Guardiola added that “we will have to be strong from the first day. I would like to promise titles, but that would be a big mistake. I am convinced that the fans will be proud of us.”
He wisely refused to comment about the no-confidence motion that has been proposed by a group of fans determined to oust Laporta from the presidency.
Guardiola then admitted that “Deco, Ronaldinho and Eto’o are not in our plans.”
Regarding Ronaldinho, he added that “if I felt that he wants to return to being the player he was, then he would be here. But there has been a deterioration in his situation, and the solution is to make a strong dressing-room.”
Guardiola confessed that the priority is to sign a centre-forward, but he refused to comment on the names put forward by the media.
So far, Barca have signed defenders Martin Caceres from Villarreal and Gerard Pique from Manchester United, plus midfielder Seydou Keita from Sevilla.
Tags: camp nou, club president, confidence motion, dpa, dream team, dressing room, eyebrows, fc barcelona, frank rijkaard, guardiola, joan laporta, johan cruyff, pillars, real madrid, ronaldinho, rumours, samuel eto o, txiki, world player of the year, yellow cards