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Blackburn lose out as Flamengo close in on Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho rarely produced his Barcelona form in a Milan shirt

Blackburn boss Steve Kean has admitted the club's hopes of signing Ronaldinho are "dead in the water".

The Brazil midfielder is reportedly close to agreeing a move from AC Milan to Rio de Janeiro's Flamengo.

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said: "I believe Ronaldinho's chances of playing for Flamengo are at 99.9%."

Blackburn caused a stir with their bold bid to sign the ex-Barcelona star, but Kean said on Saturday: "It looks like he's going to go back to Brazil."

Reports had suggested the Premier League club were prepared to offer Ronaldinho a three-year deal worth about £20m.

However, with the player's agent and brother Roberto De Assis Moreira keen to see him return to Brazil, a deal with his former club Gremio or 2009 Brazilian champions was always more likely.

Galliani met with Flamengo president Patricia Amorim in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday to broker a deal, and Amorim said: "We have reached an agreement... we need two or three days to agree [personal terms]."

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was never in any doubt that Ronaldinho would return to his homeland to continue his career.


He said: "To lose a player with his quality is a shame for everyone. However, he wanted to make a life choice by going to Brazil."

The two-time world footballer of the year began his career with Gremio at the age of 18, before moving to Paris St Germain in 2001.

After two years in France, he joined Barcelona as they began trying to match the glamour of fierce rivals Real Madrid's "Galacticos".

His arrival inspired Barcelona's renaissance, as they won La Liga in 2005 and a league and Champions League Double in 2006, with Ronaldinho producing some of the best form of his life.

In summer 2008, he turned down a move to Manchester City in favour of move to the San Siro, but he failed to reproduce his Barca form for Milan, with his high-profile party lifestyle regarded as one of the main reasons.

He lost his place in the Milan starting XI when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho joined last summer, and with Antonio Cassano having signed from Sampdoria this week, there is no space for him in Allegri's line-up.

Now, he has been allowed to leave the club with six months still remaining on his contract.

On Tuesday, Blackburn revealed they had made a move for the playmaker and Venky's, the company that bought Rovers in 2010, said its Brazil office was in talks with Ronaldinho's manager.

"He is keen to play in the EPL [English Premier League] and I think that goes in our favour," Venky's chair Anuradha Desai told BBC Radio Lancashire.

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see also
Blackburn make bid for Ronaldinho
04 Jan 11 |  Blackburn
Blackburn taken over in 43m deal
19 Nov 10 |  Blackburn
Ronaldinho could miss World Cup
09 Feb 10 |  Football
What has happened to Ronaldinho?
29 Apr 08 |  Europe
Ronaldinho scoops European award
28 Nov 05 |  Football
The wonder of Ronaldinho
21 Dec 04 |  Football

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Melbourne Age Two Brazil clubs drop talks for Ronaldinho - 10 hrs ago Ronaldinho set to join Flamengo - 27 hrs ago
TSN Ronaldinho to join Flamengo as Palmeiras withdraws interest - 27 hrs ago Blackburn out of running for mega star - 27 hrs ago
Reuters UK Ronaldinho set to join Flamengo, says Milan's Galliani - 49 hrs ago