Colleague's blog reveals that Rijkaard will leave Barcelona

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Frank Rijkaard will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, a close colleague of the Dutch coach said yesterday. Jil van Eyle, who works with Rijkaard in a fundraising initiative known as "teaming", said he was looking for another sponsor because of his imminent departure from Barça.

"I work for Frank Rijkaard who has given me a lot of time to work on teaming but as Frank will be leaving FC Barcelona in a few weeks my work with him will come to an end," Van Eyle said in a blog posting. "He said he will always support me with his name and image, but logically I will now have to look for another sponsor."

Rijkaard took charge at Barcelona in 2003 and led the team to back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006 and victory in the Champions League, but the team have failed to win any further trophies in the past two seasons.

Local media have taken it for granted that Rijkaard, who is under contract until 2009, will leave the club at the end of the season with former Barcelona player Pep Guardiola and former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho among the names linked with the post.

In Italy, Roberto Mancini will remain Internazionale coach despite constant speculation linking Mourinho with that job too, insisted the club's chief executive Ernesto Paolillo.

"We have the best coach in Italy with Robert Mancini," Paolillo said. "We have a long contract with him, we're completely satisfied with him. He was the winner last year and two years ago, and is winning this year – why do we have to change?" Inter can retain their Serie A title by beating Milan on Sunday before facing Lazio in an Italian Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday.

Mancini announced after Inter's Champions League first knockout round defeat by Liverpool in March that he would quit at the end of the season.

He changed his mind the next day but there has been speculation he will still leave at the end of the campaign because of strained relations with club owner Massimo Moratti.

Paolillo also said Inter needed investment to compete with English clubs in Europe but was unenthusiastic about a move for Barcelona's Ronaldinho, who would cost about £31m. "If we don't buy Ronaldinho it's not because it's costing a lot, it would be because we have to buy what we need. The role of Ronaldinho is well covered in our team. Even if the price is lower, it's the role of the player we're looking at," he said. "We have a very good team but we need two or three more players to be competitive with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. To win [the Champions League] you must be the strongest."

Comments