Ronaldinho set for Barcelona showdown

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The Independent Football

Brazil forward Ronaldinho and/or his representative were expected in Barcelona on Monday to hold talks over the player's future, the Primera Liga club said.

The 28-year-old was not present in the morning to start pre-season fitness tests under new coach Pep Guardiola, and it was not known whether he or his brother and agent Roberto de Assis would be arriving for the meetings.

Barcelona said they expected Ronaldinho to turn up to begin the season on Monday despite Guardiola having announced that the playmaker was surplus to requirements.

The Catalan side had also said they were not prepared to release Ronaldinho to join Dunga's Brazil squad for next month's Beijing Olympics. Dunga has included him as an over-age player.

Ronaldinho, who shone when Barca won back-to-back league titles and the European Cup in 2006, suffered fitness and injury problems last season, dropping out of first-team contention.

As part of their move to galvanise the team ahead of next season, after two years without silverware, Barcelona have made it clear the former World Player of the Year is not wanted but have found it difficult to off-load him.

Serie A side AC Milan and English Premier League club Manchester City have expressed interest in Ronaldinho but a deal has yet to be reached that satisfies all parties.