Barcelona do not want Ronaldinho to play for Brazil at next month’s Olympic Games, despite declaring that the Brazilian star is not part of coach Pep Guardiola’s plans for next season.
Ronaldinho is one of three over-age players who have been named by Brazil coach Carlos Dunga, along with Robinho of Real Madrid and Werder Bremen midfieldr Diego. Dunga wants to trio to join up with the Under-23 squad for the Beijing Olympics as Brazil bid to win Olympic gold for the first time.
But Barcelona have insisted that Ronaldinho is due back in Spain for the club’s pre-season preparations next week. “Ronaldinho has to report for training next Monday,” a club statement said.
The Olympics football tournament runs between August 6 and 24. Under-23 players called up by Brazil include Milan forward Alexandre Pato Anderson of Manchester United, Manchester City’s new record signing Jo and Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva.
Clubs are not obliged to release over-age players because the Olympic football tournament is not part of the official FIFA calendar.
Brazil Olympic squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves (Almeria), Renan (Internacional)
Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Ilsinho (Shakhtar Donetsk), Rafinha (Schalke), Thiago Silva (Fluminense), Alex Silva (Sao Paulo), Breno (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Lucas (Liverpool), Anderson (Manchester United), Hernanes (Sao Paulo), Ronaldinho (Barcelona), Diego (Werder Bremen), Thiago Neves (Fluminense)
Forwards: Robinho (Real Madrid), Alexandre Pato (Milan), Rafael Sobis (Real Betis), Jo (Manchester City)