Belfast Telegraph

Homeward-bound Ronaldinho rejects Blackburn Rovers

Ronaldinho is set to reject the advances of Blackburn Rovers and rejoin his hometown club Gremio, according to reports last night.

The AC Milan favourite had attracted interest from Brazilian rivals Flamengo and Palmeiras as well as the Premier League club, but he is poised to link up with the club where he started his career.

Representatives of the Brazilian international and Gremio directors were discussing terms in the hope of thrashing out a deal.

Ronaldinho's current contract with Milan expires at the end of the current season and Rovers were putting together a £20m deal to land the 2002 World Cup winner.

The Rossoneri have signed Antonio Cassano, pushing the former Barcelona star closer to the exit door.

Meanwhile, the race to land a former AC Milan playmaker — David Beckham — is hotting up.

A host of clubs may be queuing up to offer Beckham a route back to the Premier League, but it remains to be seen whether the Los Angeles Galaxy will allow their star man to go out on-loan.

The 35-year-old former England captain spent the last two Major League Soccer close seasons on loan at AC Milan — and is said to be keen to return to Europe in order to prove to England manager Fabio Capello he deserves a recall to the national side.

Tottenham are leading the chase for Beckham, with Newcastle and Blackburn also expressing an interest.

However, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp fears the Galaxy may not sanction the move soon enough to make it a viable option.

Former US international Alexi Lalas was the Galaxy's general manager when Beckham moved there and feels another switch back to Europe may not be well received.

“American soccer fans say David Beckham has given a lot, but he's also taken a tremendous amount out of Major League Soccer,” said Lalas. “The reason David Beckham went over to Milan was to prepare, in theory, for the World Cup. I think that was commendable and understandable to a certain extent, but now it is happening once again.”

Were Beckham's loan move to be sanctioned by Los Angeles, Spurs would seem to be at the head of the queue.

However, the veteran midfielder — eligible for the Champions League — would have to return to the US ahead of the new MLS campaign, which starts for the Galaxy against Seattle Sounders on March 15.

Belfast Telegraph


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