A day after Italian legend Allesandro del Piero confirmed his participation in the Indian Super League (ISL), it is believed Brazilian great Ronaldinho is in advanced talks with Abhishek Bachchan co-owned Chennai franchise.
Though there was no official comment from the owners on Friday, reports said Ronaldinho has agreed in principle to sign a two-year deal with the Chennai team for a whopping 4.6 million euros (approx Rs35 crore). The World Cup winner was earlier in talks with Brazilian Palmeiras but the deal fell through a couple of days ago after both parties failed to reach a financial agreement.
It is believed that team Chennai officials have been in touch with the player over the last 10 days. The franchise, which is a last-minute replacement for the Sun Group-owned Bangalore Titans, has also identified former Italy defender Marco Materazzi as their marquee manager.
Sources, however, said Chennai have been told to wrap up the deal with their potential players before August 31, the deadline set by ISL organisers IMG-Reliance to finalise marquee signings. Ronaldinho is a free agent after his contract with Atletico Minerao ended last season.The ISL contract is being negotiated by his brother and agent Roberto de Assis. An ISL stint will allow him to play for a Major League Soccer side in the USA early next year, which is the former world player of the year’s target.
The 34-year-old has tasted plenty of success in both his international and club careers. He scored 33 goals in 97 matches for Brazil, apart from winning multiple titles in his stints with Barcelona, AC Milan and PSG.
Goa to bag Zico
Meanwhile, Ronaldinho’s compatriot and another Brazilian legend Zico has been offered a managerial role by Goa FC. The team’s owners have already approached ‘White Pele’ and sources said the 60-year-old too has expressed interest in joining the team. The deal, however, has not been finalised.
Zico began his coaching career with the Japanese national team, whom he managed at the 2006 World Cup. His other assignments include managing J-League side Kashima Antlers, Uzbeki giants Bunyodkor, Olympiakos (Greece), CSKA Moscow and Qatar champions Al-Gharafa.
Goa have also held negotiations with former Spanish international Fernando Morientes and the captain of Italy’s World Cup winning Fabio Cannavaro as a back-up, in case the talks with Zico fail to materialise.
It is also learnt that former Manchester City and Sunderland coach Peter Reid will be the manager of Mumbai City, with Steve Darby as his assistant. The duo will be unveiled at the team’s launch on Saturday.