The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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I’m desperate to be a Red: Ronaldinho
- United may rope in Brazilian star while releasing Veron for £14 m

London: Ronaldinho cannot wait to be the first Brazilian to wear the colours of English Premier League champions Manchester United.

“I am desperate to become the first Brazilian to play for Manchester United,” Ronaldinho told Sunday’s News of the World. “All the biggest stars from the past and today — like Pele, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and even Rivaldo wanted to be the first to play for United.

“But I want to be the first Brazilian ever to be a Red — and I know I am going to be.”

United are reported to have offered Ronaldinho’s French club Paris St Germain a deal worth 18.75 million pounds ($30.70 million) to sign the 23-year-old World Cup-winner, who has already agreed personal terms with the English club.

“Today, Manchester United are one of the three best clubs in the world.” Ronaldinho said. “Their squad is so good that I can more or less compare them to the (world champion) Brazilian volleyball team.

“There are 23 fantastic players at Old Trafford and so I cannot rest for one moment if I want to get into the side.

“Professionally, there could be nothing more demanding in the world than playing at Old Trafford — even more so than playing at Real Madrid.”

On the other hand, Barcelona are hoping for a prompt response to their bid for Ronaldinho from Paris St Germain, the Catalan club’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain said on Sunday.

“We are waiting for a decision from PSG and the player,” Begiristain was quoted as saying by the Spanish sports daily Marca on Sunday. “Our work is now done and the ball is now in their court.”

Last week Barcelona president Joan Laporta said that the club had tabled a “firm and serious offer” for the 23-year-old Brazilian international.

Laporta was not prepared to give details of the offer, but Spanish media subsequently reported that Barcelona had offered 20 million euros ($22.65 million) plus French defender Philippe Christanval and a loan deal for Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme in exchange for Ronaldinho.

But Begiristain made it clear that Barcelona, who tried to sign England captain David Beckham before his move to Real Madrid, were not prepared to wait indefinitely for an answer from the French club.

“When we were trying to sign Beckham we had a plan B to go for Ronaldinho. Now Ronaldinho is our plan A, but if we don’t get him we still have other options,” he said.

Paris St Germain have said that Chelsea and Real Madrid have also expressed a strong interest in signing the highly rated young forward.

In behaviour reminiscent of his Brazilian international team mate Ronaldo when he was pressuring to leave Inter Milan before the start of last season, Ronaldinho has failed to turn up to his club’s pre-season training camp and has remained in Brazil while his future is resolved.

The French club have said he will be punished for his absence but may be forced into negotiating his departure from the club if they cannot persuade him to join his teammates at the start of next week.

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