RIO DE JANEIRO - Former FIFA world player
of the year Ronaldinho has been granted permission by his club
AC Milan to seek a move home to a Brazilian team as he looks to
enhance his 2014 World Cup chances.
Milan's vice-president Adriano Galliani told a news
conference in Rio on Thursday the Italian side will seek a fee
for the 30-year-old forward whose current deal ends in June.
"I'd like to make it clear that Milan have not rescinded
their contract with Ronaldinho," said Galliani, who jokingly
stated a preference for a move to Flamengo who wear the same red
and black colours as Milan.
"Ronaldinho is going to see which is the best decision for
him and he will tell Milan. Milan and Ronaldinho will decide
Ronaldinho, who was also at the news conference, has failed
to win a regular starting place at Milan this season and said he
was keen to return home and play in the Brazilian championships.
"I want to return to play the championships in Brazil. I
didn't get the chance to win many leading titles in Brazil and
at this stage in my career I wanted to come back to Brazil," he
told reporters at Rio's Copacabana Palace.
Ronaldinho has just one Gaucho (Rio Grande) state
championship title in 1999 to his name.
"Everything that's happening is because today (Thursday) I
reached an agreement with Milan. I'm free to continue my life
here in Brazil," added Ronaldinho while outside hundreds of fans
of Rio-based Flamengo gathered for a glimpse of the player.
Ronaldinho's brother and agent Assis added: "We have a deal
with Milan that allows us to talk to Brazilian clubs. Ronaldinho
is under contract but we have this freedom.
"We have a very important contract (at Milan), all of you
know the figures surrounding Ronaldinho (but) we will find a
solution and soon we will have a decision."
He added that an announcement would be made on Tuesday or
A World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002, but overlooked for
the 2010 finals, Ronaldinho also hopes to convince national team
coach Mano Menezes that he can be a part of his squad for the
finals on home soil in 2014.
"This is the start of an important stage in which everyone
is looking at the World Cup and I'd like to be here to continue
my career in Brazil," he said.
Ronaldinho's first club Gremio, 2009 champions Flamengo and
Palmeiras, managed by former Brazil, Portugal and Chelsea coach
Luiz Felipe Scolari, are all interested in signing the forward.
Gremio seem to be heading the chase though with club
president Paulo Odone saying on Wednesday that all he needed to
bring Ronaldinho home was for Milan to free the player.
Ronaldinho, FIFA world player of the year in 2004 and 2005
while at Barcelona, left Gremio in controversial circumstances
in 2001 to play for Paris St Germain.
There was a wrangle over a fee, with soccer's world
governing body FIFA intervening, and his possible return is seen
by Gremio fans as a chance for Ronaldinho to redeem himself.
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