Despite reports yesterday claiming Manchester City were still hopeful of signing Ronaldinho this summer, it appears as though the Brazilian’s heart is set on Chelsea, to team up with the manager who guided his country to World Cup glory in 2002.
“It is marvellous that Felipao (Scolari) is interested in signing me because he is an excellent coach,” Ronaldinho said yesterday. “I have a lot of respect for him because I have known him since I was very young and he was coach of Gremio. If the chance came up to work with him again then it would be very good. We have a history together in the game, we won the World Cup, and that is something I will never forget.”
A move to Chelsea would also see Ronaldinho link up with his former teammate, Deco, who completed his transfer to the Blues earlier this week.
There is also the possibility that Barca striker, Samuel Eto’o, could make a move away from the Nou Camp this summer, and has been linked with a deal at Chelsea. The Cameroon striker is currently on holiday and on his return will talk to the club about his future. With the manager already confirming that Eto’o is not a part of his plans and Barcelona declaring an interest in Arsenal’s Adebayor, there is every chance he will be tempted by Roman’s rubles.
Manchester United are facing the possibility of losing Ronaldo this summer, and following a nail-biting close finish in May, could these Barca men spell trouble for the Reds next season?
The Brazilian playmaker’s best days of his career are behind him and he already has two Champions League winners medals to his name.
He has proven time and again what an important player he can be in his team’s success, most notably being named Man of the Match in Porto’s European Cup final win.
That aside, he’s a nasty, cheating little git and I’m pretty gutted I’m going to have to watch him play week in week out in the weekend’s football highlights. I have a deep running dislike of the player, going back to his days at Jose Mourinho’s Porto.
For a creative midfielder, he picks up a ridiculous number of fouls and yellow cards, and when you’re not being wowed by his skill (painfully I’ll admit that he has it) you’re left cringing by his play acting. Even JT agrees!
Had Chelsea made this signing three years ago, I’d be feeling slightly hot under the collar. Whilst not writing him off completely, to come from a lifetime of playing in the Portuguese and Spanish leagues to the Premiership will be incredibly difficult.
Imagining that he does adapt quickly though, he won’t be a threat for long. At 30-years-old, he doesn’t have long left before he’ll leave top flight football, which Chelsea seem to be more than aware of considering his contract with the club is for just two years.
The two-time winner of the World Player of the Year award has sadly lost his passion for the game in recent years, preferring the partying lifestyle and celebrity status that comes with being the best at one you do. Had Peter Kenyon not screwed up royally in 2003, the Brazilian could be one of ours, and under the watchful eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, who knows what kind of player Ronaldinho could be today.
Last season he scored just 9 goals, in comparison to the 23 and 25 he scored in the two years preceding. It was a campaign ravaged by injuries and not aided by his lack of fitness.
At the close of the season, the Barcelona president claimed that the only way the Brazilian could return to his form of years gone by would be to undertake a new challenge at a different club. Despite interest from City, Chelsea stand as favourites to sign him, and the 28-year-old has time left to reinvent his career.
No doubting his incredible skill, there are definite questions over whether he can endure the physicality of the Premiership, as well as get himself ‘up for’ Chelsea’s winter trips up to the likes of Hull and Bolton.
If he has the determination to prove himself once again though, Ronaldinho could be a serious threat to United and any other team challenging for the title.
The Cameroon striker has been a prolific scorer in La Liga, netting a total of 91 goals in his 135 appearances for Barcelona. Whilst like with Deco and Ronaldinho he runs the risk of failing to adapt to our league, this is a player who could be absolutely deadly.
He was handled effectively in our semi-final against Barcelona this season, but his 20 goals in 24 appearances last season suggest he had much better luck against other opposition.
All three Barcelona men come with the positives and negatives, but fortunately for United, their arrival at Chelsea would signal the departure of other stars. As unlike-able as I find Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, there is no denying their effectiveness for the Blues. Between them, they have scored 192 goals for Chelsea over the past 4 years, which averages out at 24 goals a season each. The signings of Deco, Ronaldinho and Eto’o would surely only be as replacements for these two aforementioned players, who both stand every chance of joining up with Mourinho again at Inter Milan. In short, they would not be bought as players to boost the squad, rather replace players who are leaving.
Lampard and Drogba are both proven players in the Premiership, so it is risky business to find their replacements in foreign leagues.
It is also important to note that we have once before seen an influx of “world class” players to Stamford Bridge, when Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko all joined the club in the summer of 2006. With United only signing Michael Carrick and selling on Ruud van Nistelrooy, the press didn’t even envisage us finishing in the top 3. Big names don’t necessarily mean big prizes though, which was proven when United went on to win the league at the end of that season.
Whatever effect these signings, if they do happen, would have on United’s title campaign, there is one thing for certain… the Premier League will be considered even stronger with their presence, and Match of the Day should make more entertaining viewing!
Scott runs the Republik of Mancunia blog and forum.