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Milan pipping Manchester City and Chelsea to Brazilian star

AC Milan are in pole position to beat Chelsea and Manchester City in the race to sign a world-beating Brazillian star.

After a disappointing season, plagued by injury and poor form, Ronaldinho has been told by Barcelona that he is not not needed at Camp Nou as they ring the changes after two silverware-bereft years.

Ronaldinho’s agent and brother, Roberto De Assis, has reported that Milan is the preferred destination for the troubled playmaker, telling Sportal.it:

We have always had a good relationship with Milan and always been in contact.

We know that Milan like Ronaldinho and that Ronaldinho likes Milan and we will continue to work to bring the best player in the world to the best club in the world.

The move is a big snub to Chelsea. Officals at Stamdford Bridge had hoped that the lure of ex-Brazil boss Phil Scolari, under whom Ronaldinho won the 2002 World Cup, would prove too much for the former World Player of the Year. It also puts a big block on Mark Hughes’ chances of bringing him to Eastlands.

Rumours had been doing the rounds that Ronaldinho was on the verge of joining Chelsea, but in recent weeks, more and more destinations have been suggested. Bitter rivals Inter Milan, Juventus and even Argentine giants Boca Juniors have been interested in him. However, his brother insists it is a one-horse race:

We’re only talking to Milan. We’ve never heard from Inter or Juventus out of respect for the Rossoneri.

I can confirm that Ronaldinho would go very willingly to Milan and if it hasn’t already happened it’s because there have been problems between the two clubs, probably at an economic level, but there’s still time to come to an agreement – at least until August 31.

His claims fly in the face of Milan vice president Adriano Galliani, who earlier this week proclaimed that Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor was their one and only transfer target this summer:

Milan remain true to their word, either Adebayor comes or we keep things as they are.

Perhaps things had gone cold on the Ronaldinho transfer front, so his agent is looking to create more interest by suggesting there is a leading party? Or maybe he is trying to tie things up before his brother travels to China for the Olympics, where he could show how far he has fallen and completely lose any interest that remains?

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