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Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 15:01 UK

Barca confirm star trio can leave

Pep Guardiola
Guardiola has no previous senior coaching experience

New Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto'o are free to leave the club.

"With the technical secretary we are forming a squad and Deco, Ronaldinho and Eto'o are not in our minds," said Guardiola, a former Barcelona skipper.

He confirmed that his priority was to buy a striker to partner Thierry Henry.

But he ruled any possibility of making a bid for Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been linked to Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid.

The departures of Deco, Ronaldinho and Eto'o from the Nou Camp will be of particular interest in England and Italy.

Midfielder Deco could join his Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at Chelsea next season or Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan, while Ronaldinho has been linked with AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City.

The priority is a number nine, we need one to complement Thierry Henry and Bojan Krkic

Pep Guardiola

Cameroon striker Eto'o has also been linked with a move to Milan, but has admirers in the Premier League, with Tottenham thought to be leading the chase.

Guardiola, who succeeds Frank Rijkaard as boss of the Catalan club, hinted that he would have retained Ronaldinho if the Brazilian had shown an improved attitude.

"If he had the desire, if he felt he could once again become the player he once was, maybe we could think about it," said Guardiola.

"But the situation has deteriorated and the solution is to build a strong dressing room."


The imminent exit of the Brazilian and the recent departure of Giovani dos Santos to Spurs means Barcelona will be short of options on the left flank, but Guardiola said a bid for Ronaldo was out of the question.

"I wouldn't make space for him in the team, even though I think he is a very good player," said Guardiola.

"We will look at the possibility of bringing in a winger, but if we don't that's fine. The priority is a number nine, we need one to complement Henry and Bojan [Krkic]. I want the three to feel like first-team starters."

Guardiola, 37, won six league titles in 11 seasons as a midfielder with Barcelona but has never held a senior coaching position.

Barcelona finished third in La Liga last season and were knocked out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage during a trophy-less campaign.

see also
Deco 'to join Scolari's Chelsea'
13 Jun 08 |  Chelsea
Eto'o set for Barcelona exit
19 May 08 |  African
Ronaldinho move to Milan in doubt
21 Apr 08 |  Football
Inter join chase for Ronaldinho
13 Apr 08 |  Europe

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