Laporta - Ronnie must go
Joan Laporta feels that Ronaldinho needs to leave Barcelona if he is to revive his career.
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 19/05/08 1:12pm
Barcelona president Joan Laporta feels that Ronaldinho needs to leave the club if he is to revive his career.
The Brazilian has struggled for form and fitness this season and has not played for Barca since the loss to Villarreal in early March.
He looked set to move on from Camp Nou in the summer but Milan have not yet been able to agree a fee with Barcelona.
Laporta has admitted that it might be difficult to sell Ronaldinho but he feels it is important for the 28-year-old to start afresh somewhere else.
"He needs a new challenge," Laporta told Catalan television station TV3.
"When a cycle finishes it is normal that the most emblematic pieces also come to an end.
"I would like Ronaldinho to be given a great send-off so that he is remembered for all he has given us and that if he didn't do any more it was because the circumstances wouldn't allow it."
Laporta also accepts there is a strong possibility of striker Samuel Eto'o leaving the club this summer.
Eto'o has been a key figure at Barca since joining the club in 2004 but he has been linked with a number of clubs including Tottenham.
"Eto'o is a player who is loyal to the club colours, who gives so much and who makes you love him," said Laporta.
"He has also been one of the most emblematic players of this cycle and if he has to go then he deserves to do so with his head held high too, and with honour."
No thoughts of Jose
Josep Guardiola will take over as manager from Frank Rijkaard this summer and Laporta insists he was Barca's first choice.
Jose Mourinho was linked with the role but Laporta maintains that neither he nor Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez would have suited the club.
He explained: "We decided that if Frank did not continue then we would choose Guardiola because Pep possessed the necessary humility.
"We didn't think about coaches like Mourinho or Benitez, who are both great coaches, but they aren't right for Barcelona.
"So we told Rijkaard that when he left Guardiola would take his place."