Barca give up

MADRID - Barcelona have practically given up hope of ridding Ronaldinho of his indolence and lethargy.

MADRID - Barcelona have practically given up hope of ridding Ronaldinho of his indolence and lethargy.

This is the dramatic interpretation that the Spanish media have placed on Tuesday's night board meeting at the Catalan giants, at which the present and future Brazilian playmaker was top of the agenda.

According to Marca, "the Brazilian will leave the club at the end of the season", because the Barca directors "know that he goes out too often at night and they don't see him with either the desire or the determination to struggle to be the player that he once was."

Marca said Barca are now regretting not having sold Ronaldinho, 28, last summer, as Sandro Rosell - the man who masterminded his signing from Paris Saint-Germain in 2003 - advised them to do.

An online poll taken by Marca - in which 5,016 readers had voted by yesterday morning - showed that only 15,21 percent of readers believe that Barca should keep him until the end of his contract, in 2010.

But 69,64 percent think that Barca should sell him off before his market value falls any further, and 15,15 percent think that he should be given a free transfer, in order to avoid paying his astronomical salary for two more years.

This is exactly what Barca did in 2002 with a former Brazilian idol turned idle - Rivaldo, who left for AC Milan on a free transfer.

Ronaldinho - Fifa World Player and European Footballer of the Year in 2005 - has started only 13 Liga matches for Barca this season, and has appeared four times as a late substitute. He has scored just eight league goals, his lowest tally at Barca.

He claimed injuries on several occasions, though a report last week from the club doctors said that they could find no proper injury at all in his right leg.

Catalan daily Sport is, understandably, even more worried about Ronaldinho than Marca.

Their headline yesterday was: "What Will Happen With Ronaldinho?" Sport columnist Josep Maria Casanovas claims that the goofy playmaker is "destroying his future", and that Brazil national manager Dunga is also losing patience with him.

Sport claims that two resolutions were agreed upon at the board meeting: that no director would discuss Ronaldinho in public, in order to avoid an acrimonious public debate, and that no definitive decision would be taken until June 30.

Sport said "what was made clear (at the meeting) was that the club could not really do much more for Ronaldinho, in human and professional terms. The club has worked hard to protect him, and to always talk well about him..."

Catalan media, most Barca fans are losing patience with Ronaldinho and are resigned to him leaving. - Sapa-dpa