Football: Ronaldo may be ready to go

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The Independent Online
The world "player of the year" Ronaldo said yesterday that the "door is open" for him to leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

"I would like to stay here but I'm a professional and I must choose what is best for me. Circumstances could make me go," said the Brazilian striker, whose agents are pushing Barcelona for an improved contract. Ronaldo said he felt he had a right to negotiate with other clubs because Barcelona's president, Jose Luis Nunez, had not kept an agreement to improve his contract.

Ronaldo was signed from the Dutch side, PSV Eindhoven, in the close season for a then world-record fee of about pounds 11m. Some outstanding displays since then have led Barcelona to open negotiations over a lucrative new contract. Despite initial indications that agreeing the new contract would be a mere formality, it was never signed, and Barcelona now say no new deal will be reached before the end of the season.

Ronaldo's compatriot, Giovanni, has asked the Barcelona board to consider an offer for him from Brazil's Sao Paulo. The midfielder has been relegated to the bench recently and said yesterday: "I didn't come to Spain to stroll around, but to triumph."

Giovanni said he would only consider the offer to join Sao Paulo on loan if it meant he could stay there until the 1998 World Cup. "If not I will stay in Barcelona and wait for an opportunity to arrive," he added.

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