Indian Super League (ISL) side Chennai Titans’ pursuit of Brazilian star Ronaldinho has come to an end after the Mexican club Queretaro FC edged out the Indian franchise to sign the playmaker.
The team has now initiated preliminary talks with other international footballers such as former Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko, among others, as the marquee player.
Queretaro, known as the White Roosters, issued a statement stating that the former Barcelona player had joined them on a two-year deal.
Ronaldinho later took to social media to confirm the move. “I chose Mexico for the affection I have always received here. I am very motivated to represent Queretaro,” he wrote on Twitter.
Ronaldinho was being pursued by the Chennai outfit for over a month. He had shown an initial interest in making the switch to India, however, the Mexican side’s offer out-matched the Indian side’s bid.
Titans’ co-owner, Prashant Agarwal, had been in talks with the player’s agent, and brother, Roberto de Assis Moreira, over a move to India. Agarwal had met him in Rome in the past week to make a final push.
“He (Ronaldinho) had shown an initial interest and it had all of us excited. So, it was disappointing news for our team that Ronaldinho decided to move to Mexico,” Agarwal told HT over the phone from Rome.
“It would have been a dream signing, however we tried our best, the Mexican club pulled off all the stops and got their president to meet the player last night. That took the deal away from us,” he added.
The 34-year-old former World Cup winner had been without a club since leaving Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro in late July. Along with Chennai Titans and Queretaro, Ronaldinho was being pursued by English non-league team Basingstoke Town, who play in the sixth tier.
The Titans, co-owned by actor Abhishek Bachchan and businesswoman Vita Dani, are now looking at a back-up plan to find a suitable marquee player.
The franchise has already initiated preliminary talks with Shevchenko, a source within the team told HT.
It is learnt that the Titans have also zeroed in on Italian Marco Materazzi as the team’s manager. The club is likely to make an official announcement in the next few weeks, the source added.