(AFP) – Dec 5, 2007
MADRID (AFP) — Ronaldinho could be set for a move to Chelsea, according to one of the numerous reports Wednesday which suggested the embattled Brazilian is finally ready to depart Barcelona.
Ronaldinho has fallen out of favour at the Nou Camp this season, especially since his reputation was damaged by highly-publicised reports of his nocturnal party lifestyle.
Amid falling sales of his number 10 shirt, a series of substitute appearances and an apparent lack of form, the 2006 Ballon d'Or winner is now on his way to Stamford Bridge, according to Spanish sports daily Marca.
Marca cited none of its sources but said the 27-year-old already holds an offer from the English Premier League side offering him 10 million euros a year.
British newspaper The Sun reported as far back as September that Chelsea were ready to offer Barcelona a whopping 70 million euros (102 million dollars) for Ronaldinho, who would receive an annual salary of 17 million euros.
But the possibility of Ronaldinho's departure from the Catalan giants has been amplified by the arrival in the city this week of his brother and agent, Roberto de Assis.
AC Milan are also said to be interested in Ronaldinho, who according to his brother appears ready to leave Barcelona before his contract expires in 2010 should the club express that wish.
"He is fine at Barcelona, but if someone wants him to leave he will go for free - without having to pay the get-out clause," Roberto de Assis told several Spanish newspapers.
De Assis appeared to deny that any deal had been done with Chelsea when he told El Mundo Deportivo: "I have not read the newspapers, but it is a big surprise for me, because I have not spoken with anybody.
"I cannot receive offers. The only one who can receive them are Barcelona."
"Is Ronaldinho leaving in December? Ask the club," he told reporters in Barcelona later on Wednesday, before adding that in the world of football "everything can change very quickly".
Meanwhile Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard, whose future at the club has also been subject to speculation in recent weeks, has brushed off persistent rumours that Ronaldinho has been seeing his daughter Linsey.
"Her boyfriend is Brazilian, but it's not Ronaldinho", Rijkaard told a Dutch publication, Life after football, according to Catalan daily El Periodico.
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