Wednesday, December 28, 2011
GALAXY: Ronaldinho's aim elsewhere?
By Scott French
If reports that Ronaldinho could be coming to Major League Soccer are more than just speculation or posturing, then don't be too surprised if he ends up somewhere other than the Galaxy.
That's the latest from France, where some of the Brazilian superstar's representatives are based: that the “big offer” being prepared is not with L.A.
Ronaldinho, 31, has been linked to the Galaxy for some time, and there were reports in Europe and Brazil that he was bound for L.A. before signing last January with Rio de Janeiro-based Flamengo following a decade in Europe with Paris-Saint Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan.
Reports have resurfaced, claiming the attacker could be the replacement if David Beckham signs with Paris Saint-Germain, as French media claim he will do shortly after New Year's, but MLS-News, a French website that covers MLS and is an “official partner” of University Elite Athletes USA -- a French management agency working to move Ronaldinho to the U.S. league -- says that might not be so.
“Yes, we're trying to bring Ronnie to the league, but there may be a surprise in which club he could play for,” said Jerome Meary, a University Elite Athletes USA representative the website said was “handling the case jointly with MLS.”
“We are preparing a big offer, but it is not with Los Angeles.”
Meary told MLS-News that the Galaxy has right of refusal on Ronaldinho. The player's French adviser Michael Wiesenfeld, founder of the New York-based European Football Group agency (and a former marketing assistant at PSG), last week told the website that negotiations with the Galaxy had begun last summer and “are intensifying.”
Ronaldinho would be paid about $10 million, Wiesenfeld said.
The Galaxy and MLS do not comment on prospective players.
REUNION IN PARIS?: If Beckham is, indeed, headed to Paris, it looks like he'll be reuniting with two of his bosses at AC Milan.
Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti, who was Milan's manager during Beckham's first loan spell with the club, in 2009, appears set to take charge of PSG, French media reported, and the club confirmed he was at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
Former Brazilian star Leonardo, PSG's director of football, was Ancelotti's successor at Milan, coaching Beckham during his 2010 loan from the Galaxy.
Ancelotti, 52, a former Italian national-teamer who also has coached at Reggiana, Parma, Juventus and Chelsea, has been pegged to replace Antoine Kombouare, whose dismissal would come with notoriously underachieving PSG atop the French Ligue 1 standings during the brief winter break.
The club could announce Ancelotti's appointment Thursday. He is expected to join PSG's winter camp, which runs through Jan. 5 in Qatar and Dubai, and debut in a French Cup match Jan. 8.
Agence France Presse reported last week that Beckham is expected to attend the Jan. 2-8 Qatar ATP Open tennis tournament in Doha and could sign with PSG at that time.
The English midfielder is deciding whether to re-sign with the Galaxy, accept a reported 18-month, $18.7 million offer from Qatari-owned PSG or, far less likely, sign elsewhere. His contract with L.A. ends Saturday.
WORTH NOTING: ESPN Classic on Friday will televise last month's MLS Cup final against Houston, an impressive Galaxy outing won on Landon Donovan's second-half goal. Coverage begins at 9 a.m.
ELSEWHERE: In other news around MLS ...
- Arsenal is weighing taking former Gunners star Thierry Henry on a two-month loan from the New York Red Bulls.
- Charlie Davies, whose comeback from a car crash two years ago was one of MLS's best 2011 stories, has returned to French club Sochaux from a loan deal with D.C. United.
- Jason Banton, an English attacker who was on trial with Chivas USA last spring, posted on Twitter that he's been invited to take part in next month's MLS Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The combine precedes the Jan. 12 MLS SuperDraft in Kansas City, Kan.
- Former New England forward Cate, a Brazilian who was an all-star and led the Revs in scoring (eight goals and eight assists) in 2001, his only MLS campaign, was killed Tuesday in a car accident in Ipe, Brazil. He was 38.