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Joan Laporta believes that he made a mistake by not letting Ronaldinho leave Barcelona a year earlier and has admitted that he considered reinstalling Johan Cruyff as coach last season.

The Barcelona president opened up in an interview with Marca and explained that he felt the Brazilian superstar had more to give before proving that he was more part of the problem than the answer.

Ronaldinho's fitness and form were criticised and debated during his last two years at Camp Nou and even Laporta admits that things changed after the club won an historic double in 2006.

"The year after we won the title and the Champions League we saw signs of relaxation, but we came close to winning the league again and we decided to keep certain players out of gratitude," he explained.

"Now that we know what happened, I would not have taken that decision. But the fact is that he did not leave.

"Ronaldinho was always positive with us and he was the first one to say that he did not want to leave.

"He told us that he wanted to be number one again and for that reason we opted to keep him."

Samuel Eto'o was also on the list of players to off-load after a problematic campaign, but his change of attitude in pre-season meant that Laporta chose to keep him.

"He is highly motivated and committed to the team. He is one of the pillars of the squad," he continued.

"At one time we had a brief talk about him, but I immediately saw that it was clear that if he continued to show the same attitude then he should stay."

Laporta then revealed how Guardiola pushed for the first team coaching job when being appointed as the club's B team trainer by betting him he would not take the risk by choosing him.

"He said that I would not have the courage to make him head coach one day and I told him that I would. If we did not win anything with Rijkaard then I would," Laporta said.

"Then he repeated that I would not be brave and I asked why I should and he told me that he would go for the league.

"Cruyff told me in December 2007 that Guardiola was ready to coach the first team.

"When I told Rijkaard that if he did not win anything then Guardiola would replace him, he wanted him to join his coaching staff, but Pep was very focussed on Barça B.

"What is also certain is that I thought about asking Cruyff to return last season to end the campaign if Rijkaard left early."

Smeghead Moderator
13,664 Posts
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but he's right - Ronaldinho was a shadow of his former self last season.

Can anyone who watches Serie A let us know how he's playing this season?

It was quite a u-turn with Eto'o. They seemed to let the whole of Europe know that he was for sale and then they changed their mind. Perhaps it's because only Spurs came in for him! Lol.

15,336 Posts
I find it pretty awful that they were talking about hiring Guardiola if Rijkaard didn't win anything, and even telling him about him

It puts the manager under even more, unnecessary pressure.

They shouldn't have said anything and waited to see how things panned out first imho.

As for Ronaldinho, he should have been sold earlier. He hasn't been the same player since 2006, and they should have moved him on. He was really no more than deadwood.
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