Wednesday, December 22, 2010
GALAXY: Is Ronaldinho coming or not?
By Scott French
News item: Ronaldinho negotiating to leave AC Milan.
What this means for the Galaxy, who can tell? The 30-year-old Brazilian superstar has been linked to L.A. for a couple of years now, but the club has never officially confirmed its interest no matter what's reported nor how it's sourced.
Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts hinted in July that Ronaldinho would “in the next couple days” be en route to the Galaxy -- didn't happen -- and Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport last month reported that the playmaker had reached an agreement with L.A.
Now Roberto de Assis, Ronaldinho's brother/agent -- and the primary source on all the L.A. talk -- says the likely destination is Brazil.
He told Radio Bandeirantes last week that a deal with Palmeiras was possible -- the Sao Paulo club is reportedly offering a three-year, $29 million contract -- that “Ronaldinho would like to return to Brazil because he has the desire to win the trophies that he is still missing, like the Brasileirao [national championship] and Copa Libertadores.”
Ronaldinho's contract with Milan doesn't end until June, but Il Corriere dello Sport, another Italian daily, reported Wednesday that negotiations to depart in January are ongoing and that Gremio -- Ronaldinho's first club, based in Porto Alegre -- and Rio de Janeiro's Flamengo also have made offers.
The supposed contract with the Galaxy, La Gazzetta reported last month, was for $38 million over four years. Is that, or any other potential deal, now dead? Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made an interesting remark during a teleconference last week after L.A. selected Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel in Major League Soccer's re-entry draft.
Arena was asked if signing Angel, which the Galaxy hasn't yet done, would mean the club could not bring in Ronaldinho. “I would not say that at this point,” Arena said. Then, after a pause, he broadened that statement to “any player,” then spoke about how unethical it is to talk about players under contract to other teams.