Posted on July 25, 2007
Ronaldinho admits he would like to have Frank Lampard as a Barcelona team-mate, but boss Frank Rijkaard does not expect it to happen.
The Chelsea midfielder has been often linked with the Catalans but has two years remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge, and Rijkaard stressed Barcelona are not planning to move for the 29-year-old.
Ronaldinho, in Scotland for friendlies against Dundee United and Hearts, nevertheless believes Lampard is of the standard required at the Catalan club.
He said: “He’s a great player and he has shown that at Chelsea.
“Obviously I would like to have him at Barcelona, the same way that I would like any great player there.”
Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard agreed with Ronaldinho’s assessment of Lampard but denied targeting the England international.
He said: “I won’t go into it personally, but what Ronaldinho says makes sense and everybody would say that.
“But it is just a remark being made about a good player like Frank Lampard.
“I don’t want to enter into details because we will have it all over the papers that we are working on Frank Lampard and that is not true.
“We are working right now with the players that we have and we have to respect other players and the teams that they are playing for at the moment.
“It is not my way to talk about other players but we all know that he is a great player.”
Ronaldinho, who admitted he was flattered by reports that AC Milan are ready to buy out his contract for 125 million euros (£84million), claimed he made the correct decision to join Barcelona from Paris St Germain in 2003 when Manchester United were interested.
He said: “Before I moved to Barcelona I had the chance to go to Manchester United but I made a good decision and I am happy to be here.”
However, the 27-year-old Brazilian looked nonplussed at the suggestion he had been offered the chance to join St Mirren after he left Brazilian side Gremio in 2001.
He said: “It was a long time ago and I can’t exactly remember what was happening then but there were a lot of clubs interested in taking me on loan.”
Ronaldinho, who has been entertaining the crowds who have turned up to watch him and his Barcelona team-mates train at St Andrews this week, insists he had no regrets about missing out on Brazil’s recent Copa America triumph when they beat rivals Argentina in the final.
Ahead of Thursday’s match against Dundee United, he said: “I’m happy that my country was playing in such a good competition.
“But I asked for time off to get ready for this season.
“I was tired but I’m really looking forward to the season starting again.”