Football: Ronaldo critical of Barcelona

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The Independent Online
Ronaldo, set to make his debut for Internazionale against Manchester United on Sunday, has criticised his former club, Barcelona, for demanding even more money than the pounds 18m already paid to release him from his contract in Spain.

The 20-year-old Brazilian striker is now destined for the San Siro after the governing body of world football, Fifa, brokered a compromise deal between Inter and Barcelona on Tuesday, although Fifa says that the money paid so far does not constitute a transfer fee.

"How can Barcelona justify asking for more money?" Ronaldo asked. "When I signed my contract with Barcelona last year, it was because I knew that for four billion pesetas (pounds 18m), I could leave. Now I want to know why that doesn't apply any more."

The two clubs have a week to reach an agreement on how much more Inter will have to pay - or Fifa will decide.

Meanwhile, Massimo Moratti, the president of Inter, said Ronaldo will wear the No 10 shirt against United in the first leg of the Pirelli Cup, a friendly tournament arranged as part of Paul Ince's 1995 transfer to the Italian club from United. The second leg is on 30 July at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo added: "The president has made the right decision. The No 10 shirt was once Zico's and Pele's - how could I not be proud of wearing that? Now I know for certain that, all talking aside, I'm going to play for Inter. I knew that Fifa would respect my wishes."

Juninho's move to Atletico Madrid has brought an instant reward for the former Middlesbrough player, who has been recalled to the Brazilian squad for two friendlies in Asia next month.

The 24-year-old fell out of favour with the Brazil coach, Mario Zagalo, during Boro's Premiership campaign last season which ended in relegation. He subsequently sought a transfer to a leading Spanish club to rekindle his international prospects ahead of next year's World Cup, and the move has paid off without him even playing a competitive match for his new club.

"Juninho has a special style which can be vital for the team," said Zagalo, who sprang another surprise when he also included the Monaco striker Sonny Anderson in the party.

Anderson, the French league's player of the year in the last two seasons, has been consistently overlooked by Zagalo, who has preferred the pairing of Ronaldo and Romario.

But Romario is injured and Zagalo, Anderson's coach when he played for Vasco da Gama, said he wanted to try out as many combinations as possible before the World Cup finals in France.

Eight players - including Manchester United's new signing Celio Silva - who were in the squad for last month's Tournoi de France and the Copa America are left out for the matches against Korea in Seoul on 10 August and Japan in Osaka three days later.

Romario has changed his mind and will play for Valencia next season after all, it was reported yesterday. The striker, who has been on loan to the Brazilian club, Flamengo, had previously suggested that he would not return to Spain because he wanted to stay in Brazil to be close to his sons.

"I never thought I would leave Flamengo, but I am a professional," Romario was quoted as saying in the Spanish sports daily Marca. "The best thing now is for me to go and succeed with my Spanish club."

Romario did not say what had made him change his mind, but the Flamengo president, Kleber Leite, is believed to have persuaded him to fulfil his contractual obligations.

Ricardo, the Paris St- Germain manager, is to leave France at the end of the new season to return to Brazil, the French sports daily l'Equipe reported yesterday.

Ricardo, who joined PSG last season as coach after ending his playing career with Benfica, told club officials he did not want to renew his contract when it expires in June 1998. The former Brazilian international defender has been linked with Fluminense.