Pep Guardiola Says Ronaldinho, Deco, and Eto'o Are Free to Go

Salaar Shamsi@SalaarizationSenior Writer IJune 17, 2008

New Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has revealed that Ronaldinho, Deco, and Samuel Eto'o are not part of his plans for next season, while stating that the club would not pursue Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Guardiola, a former Barcelona captain, was officially unveiled today as the Catalan club's first-team coach.

And he admitted the big name trioall of whom have been linked with moves to the Premier Leagueare surplus to requirements.

"All of the players in the first-team squad last season are of a very high level," he said. "But with the technical secretary we are forming a squad and Deco, Ronaldinho, and Eto'o are not in our minds."

However, Guardiola admitted he would be happy to keep Ronaldinho if the Brazilian could recapture his best form.

"If I felt that he wanted to be the player he was again, he would be here," he added. "But the situation has deteriorated and the solution is to build a strong dressing-room."

The imminent departure of the Brazilian and the recent exit of Giovani Dos Santos to Tottenham means Guardiola will be short of options on the left flank.

However, the 37-year-old ruled out a summer swoop for Manchester United winger Ronaldo.

"I wouldn't make a space for him in the team, even though I think he is a very good player," he said.

Guardiola said the club's top priority is to sign a striker. "We will look at the possibility of bringing in a winger, but if we don't then that's fine; the priority is a number nine," he said.

He joked, "We are looking for a number nine who scores 60 goals for us."

However, the coach claimed Thierry Henry remains very much a part of his plans, despite an indifferent first season at the Nou Camp.

He said, "I am looking for a number nine, we need one to complement Henry and Bojan (Krkic). "I want the three to feel like first-team starters."

Now it's quite possible that Chelsea may be the likely destination for Ronaldinho and Deco, while Samuel Eto'o will find himself in the middle of a tug of war between AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Is this the end of the Catalonian Era?