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Barcelona refuse to release Ronaldinho for Olympics
July 09, 2008 09:38 IST
The out-of-form 28 year-old, who has been told he is surplus to requirements at the Spanish club, was named in Brazil [Images] coach Dunga's squad for Beijing [Images] on Monday as one of the overage players.
"Ronaldinho has to report for training next Monday for the first work session of the 2008-9 season," the Primera Liga club said in a statement on their Web site (www.fcbarcelona.com).
"The Olympics [Images] do not feature in the FIFA calendar and there are no special rulings on the issue, so the club is not obliged to release its players.
"In recent weeks, sports director Txiki Begiristain has consistently stated that Barcelona's objective is to have the maximum number of players available for the Champions League qualifier."
The Olympic football tournament runs from Aug 6-24 and Barca, who finished third in the league last season, have a Champions League third qualifying round tie on Aug 12 and 27.
Ronaldinho, who shone for Barcelona when they won back-to back league titles and the European Cup in 2006, suffered a string of injury and fitness problems last season, and only started 13 of 38 league matches.
New coach Pep Guardiola, who was brought in to the Nou Camp in place of Frank Rijkaard, has said the talented playmaker does not feature in his plans, but off-loading him has not proved easy.
AC Milan and Manchester City have expressed interest in him, but a deal has yet to be reached that satisfies all parties.
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