Football: Ronaldo ready to leave Barcelona

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The Independent Online
Uncertainty surrounded the future of Brazilian striker Ronaldo last night after news reports said the player was set to leave Barcelona, probably for Internazionale, following a breakdown in contract negotiations.

The Barcelona chairman, Josep Lluis Nunez, told the state news agency, EFE, last night: "Ronaldo is leaving us."

His statement appeared to be borne out by the player, who said: "It was my decision not to continue negotiating. We all have our dignity. I had hoped to stay in Barcelona. I like this city and I have a lot of friends. It is sad but I am going to move on."

Arsene Wenger yesterday admitted he had missed out on signing two more French league players he had targeted, but insisted he will not smash Arsenal's pay structure in his bid to add depth to his Highbury squad.

Wenger said he had pulled out of "the money race" for Auxerre's Algerian midfielder Moussa Saib, who joined Valencia last weekend. He has also dropped his interest in Milan's Marcel Desailly, while the left-back Jerome Bonissel has decided to remain in Spain with Deportivo La Coruna.

However, Wenger said he would make "several signings within the next few weeks" and Ajax's Dutch international winger Marc Overmars is believed to be high on his list, along with Blackburn's England wing-back Graeme Le Saux.

"We are in Europe next season and need more players in the squad. I won't discuss any more names. We will make our signings when we are ready but we will be very discreet," he said.

Everton's search for a manager enters its final phase today when Peter Johnson, the club's chairman, considers the merits of a shortlist of Middlesbrough's Bryan Robson, Martin O'Neill of Leicester and Leeds United's George Graham. The Dutch coach Wim van Hanegem is also under consideration, but probably only for a back-room post.

Rangers are hoping to sign the Fiorentina centre-half Lorenzo Amoruso today in a pounds 4.5m deal. The 25-year-old is expected to sign a four-year contract worth an estimated pounds 16,000 a week.

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