Posted on September 24, 2007
Barcelona fans could get a clearer indication as to the future of Ronaldinho on Wednesday night when the Catalan giants face Real Zaragoza at the Nou Camp.
The Brazil star was left out of the side to face Sevilla on Saturday night with the club citing a calf problem for his absence.
However, the Spanish papers have since been full of stories speculating the former Paris St Germain playmaker had been punished for too many late nights with his response being to instruct his agent, and brother, to start negotiating a move to Chelsea.
A swift return to the starting line-up would quell those rumours, although coach Frank Rijkaard may not find a place for his star turn following Barca’s 2-1 win over their title rivals from Andalusia.
New signing Yaya Toure is convinced, however, Ronaldinho will be back to his best shortly.
“He had a little niggle in his calf, but I think he’ll be okay for our next game,” said the Ivory Coast international.
“I’ve been surprised by some of the comments made about him – he’s a great player and I think all of this will pass over soon.”
Leo Messi stepped up to the plate in Ronaldinho’s absence against Sevilla, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win.
The Argentinian’s efforts helped Barca up to fourth in the table, two points behind leaders and arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Rijkaard’s side would move above Real with a win on Wednesday as Bernd Schuster’s men don’t play until Thursday, when they host Real Betis at the Bernabeu.
Real salvaged a late draw against Valladolid on Sunday night thanks to an equaliser from former Barca striker Javier Saviola.
The capital club seemed to be heading for their first defeat of the season when Pedro Lopez put the hosts ahead with a sensational long-range strike but Saviola handed them a draw they scarcely deserved.
Villarreal and Valencia occupy second and third spots respectively.
On Wednesday, Villarreal go to Racing Santander while Valencia meet Getafe at the Mestalla.
Atletico Madrid finally got their season up and running on Saturday with a 4-0 thrashing of Racing and will hope to maintain that momentum at Athletic Bilbao while Deportivo La Coruna take on Recreativo Huelva at the Riazor.
Elsewhere, Real Mallorca meet Real Valladolid, Almeria go to Murcia and Osasuna host Levante.
Sevilla kick off the midweek action on Tuesday when Juande Ramos’ side will hope to bounce back from their weekend setback at home to Espanyol.
For more soccer news from around the globe visit Soccer365