Milan not selling Ronaldinho

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MILAN, July 21 – AC Milan will never transfer Brazilian forward Ronaldinho, declared club owner and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday."Ronaldinho is not transferable and we’re all in agreement that he will remain at Milan as long as he continues to play," said Berlusconi during a press conference here.

"I’ve not spoken to him recently, but it is certain that we will be renewing his contract and that he’ll stay (at Milan) as long as he continues to play.

"I consider him the best player of all time."

Ronaldinho won the Ballon d’Or (European Footballer of the Year award) in 2005 and was at the peak of his powers a year later when his dazzling skills inspired Barcelona to a league and Champions League double.

He experienced a sharp downturn in form thereafter, however, and joined Milan in July 2008 for a fee in the region of 18.5 million euros.

The 30-year-old has not yet hit the heights he reached in Catalonia during his time in Italy, although he appeared close to his best in the early months of last season, when Milan finished third in Serie A.

He has recently been linked with a return to his native Brazil in the colours of Flamengo, having been left out of the Brazil squad at the World Cup, but Berlusconi dismissed the rumours.

"He’s the biggest attraction at AC Milan. He’s worth the ticket price alone," said the Italian PM.

"He’s worth 10 times the amount attributed to him in the papers recently."

Milan also announced the signing of Greek international centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old, who played at the World Cup, joined from Genoa for a reported fee of 4.5 million euros and has signed a five-year contract worth around 1.3 million euros a year.

Genoa acquired joint ownership of three Milan players, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Rodney Strasser and Gianmarco Zigoni, as part of the deal.

Papastathopoulos becomes the first player to arrive at the San Siro since former Cagliari coach Massimiliano Allegri was named Milan manager.

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