The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Barcelona have everything, says Ronaldinho

Barcelona: Ronaldinho said he joined Barcelona instead of Manchester United because the Spanish club “had everything a player could want.”

After completing his $33.6 million transfer from Paris Saint Germain, the World Cup-winning Brazilian spoke of his delight at joining a club which has not even qualified for the Champions League next season.

A top Manchester United official, meanwhile, suggested that Ronaldinho didn’t join them because he lacked the nerve to withstand the pressure of accepting big challenges.

“You have got to be a special player to play for Manchester United,” said United chief executive Peter Kenyon. “We offer a major stage, Champions League opportunities, a huge success factor in terms of picking up medals and financial guarantees.”

Ronaldinho, however, explained his stand. “There are many players of high quality in the squad and that’s why I feel privileged to be part of Barcelona football club,” Ronaldinho said .

Asked why he had snubbed the English Premiership champions after a two-month long transfer saga, the 23-year-old said: “Barcelona has everything that a player could want or be looking for. This is a great club where many of the greatest players in the history of football have played,” he added in reference to players such as Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Gary Lineker, Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, who have graced the Nou Camp.

Ronaldinho said he was sure he would get on well with his teammates and was looking forward to working with new Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard.

He said he had admired the former Dutch international midfielder when he was a player. “I am going to have the opportunity to work with him and will try to do everything possible to ensure things go well,” said the Brazilian. Curiously, he told the club’s official station, Canal Barca, that he had no great desire to move to United or Barcelona.

“Right up to the moment that I signed my contract with Barcelona I always felt a part of Paris Saint Germain and I never saw myself wearing another shirt,” he said. The transfer went ahead after PSG rejected a lower bid from United.

United manager Alex Ferguson admitted he was disappointed to lose out on Ronaldinho, but said it would have little impact on his plans. “I am disappointed but not overly so,” Ferguson said.

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