Three foreign superstars, one country.
The Italian Serie A might just be getting an influx of star power with rumors circulating around Barcelona's Ronaldinho and Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba as the European footballing season begins to draw to a close. All three superstars superstars have been the subject of much transfer talk for much of the season following turbulent seasons with their respective clubs.
Ronaldinho, once considered to be the greatest footballer in the world, has been in the limelight regarding criticism and speculation over his future at the Camp Nou. Journalists and pundits alike have pounded the former 2004 and 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year with the harshest of words as he has failed to reproduce the form that we have all been enamoured with on such a consistent basis.
To add to his recent woes, Ronaldinho has now found himself out of favor with current Brazilian head coach Dunga. Being left out of the 22-man squad that took part in the Brazil-Sweden friendly, the Barcelona starlet has found that his spot in the international squad is not as automatic as it once was. With new emerging Brazilian talent in Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Anderson (Manchester United) and Diego (Werder Bremen), the 27-year-old midfielder has a mountain to climb if he is to emerge as one of Brazil's key players again.
And to top that all off, it appears as though Ronnie's season has officially come to an end after he pulled up in training with a right leg injury that is likely to put him out for the rest of the season. He has already missed 13 league games and has been questioned by the Spanish media as to whether he was really committed to the club.
The words have been so discouraging that teammate Samuel Eto'o has come out in defence of the Brazilian playmaker. Eto'o's words come after the media's intrusive pursuit of coverage on Ronnie's private life, lack of form and now more recently his injury troubles.
"There is no need to look for whether or not he will leave. He needs to be left in peace," said the Cameroon international in the Marca.
"Everybody talks and writes about [Ronaldinho], but nobody waits to hear what he has to say and what his opinion is, his truth. When he is available, he will talk."
Rumors and speculation have it that Ronaldinho has become disillusioned with the constant spotlight at the Camp Nou and could be heading to AC Milan. With an aging squad still boasting the likes of quality players in Pirlo, Kaka and Seedorf, some are questioning as to whether Ronaldinho would make out to be the appropriate signing.
Nonetheless, AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti insists that the club has been interested in signing the 2005 Ballon D'Or winner for quite some time.
"Ronaldinho for Milan, and not just for us, is a great champion, so we are interested in him," he said. "The interest for this player is certainly not recent. The club are thinking about it, unfortunately there are more clubs interested in him."
Those clubs that Ancelotti was hinting at are consisting of strong Premier League sides eager to add to their arsenal of foreign talent. Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea are all rumored to be interested but the Brazilian has maintained a firm stance against playing for an English side as he believes that it doesn't suit his game.
Speaking of Chelsea, England international Frank Lampard has also been at the center of attention after he has failed to come to an agreement with management at Stamford Bridge over a new contract. While Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, and Paulo Ferreira have committed their futures with the club, Lampard's future remains relatively hazy and uncertain. The midfielder has suggested that he would like to stay in London, however, after the departure of Jose Mourinho, Lampard could be well on his way to following the Special One to a foreign country.
Barcelona, Juventus and Inter Milan have sounded their interest in the former West Ham product. Considering the abrupt introduction of a questionable manager in Avram Grant, Lampard could be following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Michael Owen with regards to entering a new country.
A player almost certainly on the move when the next transfer window moves along is Didier Drogba. The Ivorian international has made it no secret that he is not a fan of the new manager and would like an opportunity to move abroad following Mourinho's departure. Controversial spats with Henk ten Cate and Avram Grant have led the striker to look abroad as he looks to finish off his career elsewhere.Inter Milan is most likely his destination but it will require a hefty sum from the Italians if they are to pry out one of Roman Abramovich's most prized possessions. A bid of at least €35 million will be necessary to convince Chelsea to allow Drogba to join up with Swedish sensation Zlatan Ibrahimovic as one of Europe's most potent striking tandems.