Ronaldinho flew off
with the Flamengo squad to Bolivia on Monday for a Libertadores
Cup match in one of the world's highest stadiums despite having
threatened not to play while he is owed five months' wages.
The former Barcelona and AC Milan forward was among 16
players who left for next week's match away to Real Potosi, who,
at 4,070 metres above sea level, are believed to have the
world's highest first division stadium.
Reports in local media say Ronaldinho is owed 3.75 million
Brazilian reais ($2.1 million) by the sports marketing firm
Traffic who pay part of the former FIFA World
Player of the Year's salary.
The club said they were counting on Ronaldinho, who joined
Flamengo from AC Milan a year ago, to play in the first leg of
the preliminary round tie.
"We are not working with the possibility of him not
playing," club president Patricia Amorim said at Flamengo
"It looks like things will be sorted out. We're giving
Traffic options with a view to a happy ending," she told a news
conference shortly after the team's departure.
Ronaldinho's brother and agent Roberto Assis told media he
had reached a deal with the club and Traffic with the promise
that the debt would be paid on Wednesday.
He said Ronaldinho had only boarded the plane to Bolivia
after that promise was made, adding there were no guarantees
over the player's future at the club.
"Flamengo came here, we had a meeting, we talked quite a lot
about the situation and the club has until Wednesday to take a
stance and come to an agreement with Traffic," Assis told the
Globo sports website.
"Nothing has been settled yet. Flamengo said they would do
all they could to resolve the problem. I believe it's in
no-one's interest to carry on like this," he added.
Flamengo, who will spend a week acclimatising in Sucre at
2,800 metres before their match in the famous mining town of
Potosi on January 25, may have managed to take Ronaldinho with them
but appear to have lost central defender Alex Silva.
Silva, a former Brazil international, did not show up at the
airport and was immediately suspended by Amorim.
"Alex Silva gave us a surprise. We're not sure exactly what
it's about, whether it's a financial problem... he has been
separated [from the team], this is a serious breach [of
discipline]. The case is with our judicial department," she
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