Manchester City are interested in signing Brazil star Ronaldo,
according to reports in South America.
The 31-year-old striker would be available on a free transfer after his contract
with AC Milan expired at the end of June, but he is likely to demand a hefty
salary. His deal at the San Siro was worth almost £6.5m a year.
Brazilian website Globoesporte - an offshoot of O Globo newspaper and part of
the country's biggest media empire - reports that 'people close to Ronaldo' say
City want to negotiate his transfer to Eastlands.
The striker's agent Fabiano Farah has so far refused to confirm or deny the
reports but the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year is likely to be
interested in a lucrative move to the Barclays Premier League after finding his
name linked with less prestigious options.
Flamengo, the club he supports, are keen to take him back to Brazil but would
probably need the help of investors to cover his salary. PSV Eindhoven, who
brought Ronaldo to Europe as a 17-year-old, are also interested. But the most
financially attractive offers could come from teaming up with David Beckham at
Los Angeles Galaxy or signing for Japanese team Kashima Antlers.
Ronaldo is recuperating in Spain after suffering a career-threatening knee
injury in February. The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid star
ruptured the kneecap ligament in his left knee for the third time in his career,
but has vowed to return stronger.
Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra seems keen to make impact signings -
despite doubts over his finances - and Ronaldo would fit the bill following
failed attempts this year to sign other waning Brazilians, such as Ronaldinho
Nicknamed O Fenomeno in his homeland, Rio de Janeiro's favourite son has scored
74 times in 112 internationals. He is the highest scorer in World Cup history
with 15 in 19 games, including a golden-boot-winning eight in 2002, when his
double ensured Brazil beat Germany in the final to claim their record-breaking
Despite being troubled by injury, Ronaldo has consistently maintained an
impressive record in front of goal, topping the scoring charts in Holland and
Spain. But recovery from his latest injury was interrupted by scandal in April
when he had a run-in with three transvestite prostitutes in a Rio motel.
The events, described by Ronaldo as 'the biggest mistake of my life', almost
ended his relationship with 23-year-old Maria Beatriz Antony, who is expecting
his second child.
However, the couple resolved their differences and were last seen on holiday
together in southern Spain, where Ronaldo was photographed looking more rotund
than his pregnant companion.
The veteran would join fellow Brazilians Jo and Elano at City. Striker Jo, 21,
signed for a club-record £19m from CSKA Moscow in June and is currently on
international duty at the Olympics, helping Brazil to a 1-0 victory over Belgium
in Shenyang yesterday when he had a late goal ruled out by an offside flag.
Midfielder Elano joined from Shakhtar Donetsk last summer and was a revelation
in the first half of last season before fading into mediocrity - a parallel of
City's season under Sven Goran Eriksson as the former England boss took the club
from Champions League hopefuls to eventual ninth-place finishers as the campaign