Rivaldo failed to arrive for an expected meeting with Bolton Wanderers officials over the weekend, putting his move to the Premiership club at risk.
The Brazilian international was in Barcelona at the weekend and Wanderers expected him to fly on to England to tie up his much-protracted transfer. However, Rivaldo sent a message to Bolton to come and see him in Spain, or follow him back to Brazil to secure the deal.
It was the latest twist in an affair that began when Rivaldo met Sam Allardyce, the Bolton manager, in Manchester a month ago where he agreed personal terms. However, Bolton grew suspicious when Rivaldo went back to Brazil without taking a medical. His agents then demanded an extra £500,000 fee.
This latest move has also left them mystified and raised doubts about why he wants the transfer signed abroad. The Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside, is in Australia on business and Allardyce is on holiday. Neither want to change their plans to meet Rivaldo again.
Either the midfielder comes to Bolton later this week, when all of the club's officials will be back at work, or they may go elsewhere.
Allardyce has drawn a blank in his quest for other players, including Dado Prso and Edgar Davids, and he still wants Rivaldo. However Gartside is believed to be growing weary with the constant changing of arrangements and demands.
Bolton are still confident that their offer for Rivaldo is the best he has received. Celtic's move for the player has floundered because of the overall cost of the package and a request for Rivaldo to go on trial first.
Elsewhere, the Dutch international striker Patrick Kluivert has ruled out a move to Middlesbrough. Boro travelled to Barcelona last week to register their interest, and have also targeted Mark Viduka of Leeds and Portsmouth's Aiyegbeni Yakubu.
Kluivert said: "I have no intention of going to Middlesbrough. I will not consider a move to a small club. I would like to go to one of the big London teams.
"If that doesn't happen I will stay at Barcelona for the final year of my contract."