Ronaldinho to play for AC Milan
Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho agreed to leave Barcelona, where he was deemed surplus to requirements, and sign for AC Milan in a deal reported to be worth $30 million.
"AC Milan and FC Barcelona have reached an agreement for the transfer of Ronaldinho," said a Milan statement released on the club's official website on Tuesday.
"Tomorrow (Wednesday) the player will be in Milan for a medical and to sign the contract which will tie him to Milan until June 30, 2011."
Barcelona and Milan officials held talks in the Catalan capital on Tuesday to thrash out the details of the 28-year-old's move.
The Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Milan will pay Barcelona 18.5 million euros ($29.5 million) for the World Cup winner with the figure likely to be increased by performance-related bonuses.
The news of the deal was a bodyblow to English Premier League side Manchester City who had offered 32 million euros for the two-time world player of the year.
Ronaldinho, who was not wanted at the Nou Camp by new Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola following a dip in form last season, scored 70 goals in 145 appearances for the Spanish side.
Meanwhile, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is looking forward to having Ronaldinho in his team as the San Siro giants aim to bounce back from their disappointing 2007/2008 season which saw them finish in fifth place in Serie A and miss out on Champions League qualification.
"The important thing is to have quality players and Ronaldinho is without doubt one of those," Ancelotti told Gazzetta dello Sport earlier on Tuesday.
He added that the team will line-up so as to make best use of the Brazilian and his international teammate Kaka, with the pair playing behind either veteran Italy international striker Filippo Inzaghi or teenage Brazilian sensation Alexander Pato.
"We will play with a 4-3-2-1 formation. It's a model that has worked well for us and brought us great satisfaction. It's our trademark and it will be again this year, with or without Ronaldinho. Our only objective is to win playing good football. This is Milan," he added.
Having won two Champions League titles, 49-year-old Ancelotti said that returning to the pinnacle of the European club game was the team's priority.
"We start the season wanting to improve; being out of the Champions League is hard to take, therefore we will do everything to return there as soon as possible."
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- None of the Indian players has been impacted, the statements said.
- It was Brighton who went on to claim their first-ever top-flight victory at Elland Road.
- Athletic Bilbao knocked out defending champion Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup with a 2-1 win, setting up a final against Barcelona.