The football world collectively sat up and rubbed their hands with glee today as three of the game’s biggest stars were told to pack up their belongings and leave the Camp Nou:
New Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Deco are surplus to requirements. [Sky Sports]
This is a huge decision for a club, whose very identity comes from its star players. As recently as August last year, Txiki Beguiristain (Barca’s Director of Football) said he was “totally convinced” he would reject any offer for Ronaldinho from Chelsea. Oh how the mighty have fallen. 10 months later and it has now been common knowledge for weeks that the great Brazilian is contemplating a move to Man City. Does he realise which Manchester team they are? They’re in blue Ronnie! And with a disturbing plausibility, AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has revealed the 7-time European Cup winners cannot compete with City financially:
“For now Italian football is ranked fourth in Europe behind England, Spain and Germany,” Galliani told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Unfortunately we can’t compete with the wages they offer.
“Manchester City, though, have offered the Brazilian 12million euros (£9.5million) a year. How can we compete? [Sky Sports]
Ronaldinho is gifted, lazy, egotistical and technically superb. But Mark Hughes would be playing a £180k lottery every week to see which characteristic he gets.
The rejuvenated Deco’s future looks to lie at Chelsea or Inter Milan, depending on which of his ‘like the father I never had’ previous coaches he wants to work with; Mourinho or Scolari. Would Chelsea fans be happy to see the 30-year-old at the Bridge? Does age matter with a craftsman like Deco?
At 27, Samuel Eto’o is the only departee who could realistically be viewed as a long-term signing. His talent has never been in doubt – 16 goals in 18 La Liga games is his ‘bad season’ this year – but he is a volatile character. Tottenham seem to be the only name consistently mentioned, and it would certainly be a good way to spend Dimitar Berbatov money. Should Damien Comolli get a knighthood for attracting players like Eto’o, Modric and Gio dos Santos to White Hart Lane?
The galáctico era is over at Barcelona. If Guardiola is willing to let three players of this calibre leave, we should be in for some captivating transfer activity at the Camp Nou this summer.