He’s played alongside Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Andrea Pirlo, but Ronaldinho could have ended his career alongside Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Colback.
According to The Sun, the Magpies passed up the chance to sign the Brazil maestro, who, according to his agent, wants to end his career in England.
Ronaldinho, a free agent after leaving Fluminense last September, was offered to Newcastle, but his £6 million-per-season wage demands were a turn-off.
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His UK agent Barry O’Connor said: “Asking any club to pay that amount for a 36-year-old - no matter what his past pedigree - is a big ask.
“If I am totally realistic, any club interested in signing Ronaldinho would probably want to do a deal on a pay-as-you-play basis.”
The news comes one month after Mundo Deportivo reported that Leicester City made a bid for the 35-year-old in the January transfer window.
Ronaldinho turned the Foxes down but, based on The Sun’s report, the former Barcelona star remains interested in a move to England.
Move to England
Perhaps O’Connor’s most interesting comments came when he revealed where Ronaldinho wants to end his stellar career.
“The big question is whether Ronaldinho would be able to handle the cut and thrust of the pace of the game here in England,” the agent said.
“He wants a chance, big time, and sees playing here in England as the ideal way to finish his career.”
O’Connor’s concern about the ferocious pace of Premier League football is legitimate. The Samba star isn’t getting any younger and it’s tough to envisage Ronaldinho playing an integral role for a team - even relegation-threatened Newcastle.
Steve McClaren’s team are 18th in the table following their embarrassing 5-1 loss at Chelsea at the weekend. The former England manager has spent more than £70m since arriving in the summer - including a £28.5m spree last month - yet his side remain embroiled in a relegation dogfight.
Ronaldinho, who has won every major trophy in the game including the World Cup, Champions League and Ballon d’Or, has spent the majority of his past few years playing in his home country. He signed for Flamengo in 2011 before joining Atletico Mineiro a year later. A move to Mexican side Queretaro followed but only lasted one season, with the trickster signing for Fluminense last year.
But he is most known for his stints in Spain and Italy. It was at Barcelona where Ronaldinho made a name for himself as one the finest players in the modern era, winning the Ballon d’Or and earning inclusion in the FIFPro World XI in 2005.
Ronaldinho left the club in 2008, when Lionel Messi’s emergence as the greatest player in history was just beginning. In an interview with ESPN FC , the Brazilian admitted that his only regret in football was not playing more seasons with Messi.
AC Milan signed the forward and he added a Serie A winners medal to his trophy cabinet in 2011.
Would Ronaldinho have been a hit or miss at Newcastle? Have your say in the comments section below!
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