Ronaldinho has been left out of the Barcelona squad for tonight's trip to Valencia for their King's Cup semi-final second leg. After the Brazil forward missed the 2-2 draw away to Almeria in the league on Sunday, coach Frank Rijkaard said the player was injured.
After a scan on an adductor muscle in his right leg, the club's medical services said there was no evidence of an injury to the muscle or tendon and that Ronaldinho was suffering from "medical problems". He returned to train with the rest of the team yesterday morning but failed to make the squad.
When Rijkaard was asked if there was any other reason for Ronaldinho's failure to play on Sunday, the coach insisted: "I have already told you the reason why Ronaldinho did not travel. He was injured."
Yaya Touré and Gianluca Zambrotta return to the side. Lionel Mesi, Deco, Rafael Marquez and Giovani dos Santos are injured. Barça enter tonight's game at the Mestalla with the scores level at 1-1 from the first leg.
The Werder Bremen president, Jurgen Born, has warned rival clubs that his star playmaker Diego is not for sale at any price.
The 23-year-old Brazil international has been one of the most impressive performers in the German league this season and has been linked with a move to both Chelsea and Real Madrid. But the former Porto midfielder, who signed a one-year extension to his deal at the Weserstadion earlier this season, is under contract until 2011.
Werder are already resigned to losing Tim Borowski to Bayern Munich in the summer and Born is determined the club's most prized asset will not follow him out the door. He told the Spanish radio station Onda Cero: "If someone wants to buy Diego, they have to kill me first. Diego will only leave Werder over my dead body.
"No one has rang me from Madrid – neither regarding Diego nor any other Werder players. Diego is not for sale. He has a contract with us until 2011 and is the most important player in our team."
The player himself admits he has spoken to fellow Brazil international Robinho about Real Madrid, but has not had any contact with the club. He told Spanish sports daily newspaper Marca: "My friend Robinho has told me that Real Madrid are a huge club and I know Real coach Bernd Schuster speaks very highly of me.
"When someone wants to open negotiations over me we will see what happens. But I have no agreements with any other club – neither with Real nor with Juventus."
Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Portugal coach, yesterday included midfielder Carlos Martins in his squad for next week's friendly international against Greece.
Martins, who has been in impressive form for Huelva in the Spanish league, returns after more than a year away from the international scene and was the only major surprise in the 20-man squad for the match on Wednesday in Dusseldorf.
"I watched Martins's performance for his Spanish club and I thought he was one of the options to replace Barcelona's Deco," Scolari said. The coach also said he would announce on 12 May his squad for Euro 2008. Portugal are in Group A along with the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Turkey.
The Villarreal defender Javi Venta has agreed a one-year contract extension until 2009, La Liga's third-placed club have announced.
The United Arab Emirates league has claimed its 11th coaching casualty of the season after Hatta dismissed the Brazilian Dominiquez Elias following a poor run of results. He was the third coach Hatta had fired in a year and will be replaced by Ebrahim Qasimpour, the Iranian who led them to promotion last season before losing his job.Reuse content