Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Juventus have been back in pre-season training for nearly a week; Inter and AS Roma have been going through their paces for a few days, which just leaves AC Milan to lure the television cameras to their Milanello base.
The height of the holiday season is upon us in Italy and the players generally make for an unhappy bunch as they trudge through the gates on their way to their first day “back at school.”
All eyes will be on whether Ronaldinho will be conspicuous by his absence at Milan come next Tuesday when the squad reports back although club officials are expecting his arrival from Brazil over the weekend.
Recent photographs of the step-over king enjoying the good life on the beach back home in Rio suggest he has been letting himself go somewhat - much in the same manner of his compatriot Adriano.
Speculation has been growing in direct proportion to the player’s girth that the Rossoneri are seriously considering offloading the star-turn in an attempt to ease the strain on their own financial belt.
The Ronaldinho clan are beginning to understand that the golden egg of the Silvio Berlusconi nest is no longer central to Milan’s plans.
It seems to be a case not so much of cashing in but more a matter of cutting loses – and a move back to Brazil may be the ideal answer – in the short-term anyway – for both parties.
Joining Flamengo would enable Ron to continue his life of leisure for a few months and not miss out on the Rio carnival to boot, but there have also been reports that LA is calling where he would team up with Milan part-timer David Beckham at the Galaxy.
Has Ronnie waved goodbye to Milan's fans for the last time?
Dinho’s brother and agent Roberto De Assisi is set to hit town for a meeting with Adriano Galliani; apparently to thrash out a deal that would enable Milan to cash in their chips before the striker becomes a free agent in a year’s time.
A move to another European club such as Olympiakos in Greece would probably fetch around €10 million, with the return diminishing at a club across the Atlantic.
The first problem facing Galliani will be persuading Berlusconi that he would be making a €16 million saving on salary alone over the next two years if he were to give up his favourite player.
However, the president is always willing to make an exception when it comes to the wayward South American – and there are whispers that this could cause a rift within the boardroom where the bottom line is slashing the budget.
New coach Massimiliano Allegri is all for toeing the company on this issue but even if the club’s biggest earner were to move on, viable replacements to ensure season ticket sales do not reach an all-time low are thin on the ground.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edin Dzeko are beyond the financial reach of the new slim-line Milan, Luis Fabiano could end up going the way of Ricardo Oliveira while another name that has been floated out there, Lukas Podoski, would hardly have them queuing around the block.
Hopefully talk of Robinho filling the void remains just idle chatter from those looking to fill in the long, lazy days of summer.
In fact, Gaùcho may end up enjoying an endless summer break, but it would be a shame to think that at 30 it is now the sunset of a once shining career.
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