City ready for Ronnie battle

Sven wants Brazilian superstar

Manchester City are understood to have joined the battle to sign Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho.

City are believed to have entertained Roberto Assis - brother and agent of Ronaldinho - at Eastlands on Saturday as they lost to Chelsea.

Assis is currently compiling a list of options for his brother should, as expected, he depart Barcelona this summer.

Italian giants Milan, at this stage, look firm favourites to land him after their owner Silvio Berlusconi confirmed his interest in signing Ronaldinho over the weekend.

Milan can also boast a rich Brazilian culture at their club as they already have Dida, Cafu, Digao, Serginho, Emerson, Kaka, Alexandre Pato and Ronaldo in their ranks.

Internazionale are also keen on the 28-year-old, whilst Chelsea have a long-standing interest in Ronaldinho and are likely to be keeping close tabs on the situation.

City's interest would seemingly be with the permission of their Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra, who would already know that the player, who has two years left on his deal at Camp Nou, could cost in excess of 20milllion and would command wages of more than 100,000-a-week.

But City are seemingly undeterred by the figures - knowing that the commercial spin-offs of signing one of the biggest names in world football would reap substantial rewards.


Sven Goran Eriksson would obviously need to play a huge role in trying to lure Ronaldinho to Manchester - a feat Sir Alex Ferguson failed to do in 2003 when the player shunned United for Barcelona.

And Eriksson seems open to the idea of looking to entice Ronaldinho to the club.

"I hope it's true," quipped the Swede when asked about City's interest in the Barca ace.

"I would not protest against it. But I don't know if Ronaldinho wants to play in the InterToto Cup next season."

Ronaldinho, who has struggled for form and fitness this season, is currently sidelined with a thigh injury which could rule him out for the remainder of the campaign.