"The two sides agreed to allow two or three days to finalise the transfer of the player to one of the clubs which have shown an interest in signing him. If the operation cannot be confirmed in this time the player will rejoin squad training."
This official statement was released by Barcelona little before 7 pm yesterday after a half-hour meeting between, on the one hand, Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto and, on the other hand, Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain, Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola and Barcelona football director Raúl Sanllehí.
Four hours before the player had landed at the "El Prat" airport of Barcelona. While Roberto held the first talks of the day with Milan vice president Adriano Galliani and Milan transfer adviser Ernesto Bronzetti at the Juan Carlos I hotel, Ronaldinho spend some time in his Porsche Cayenne.
After the meeting with Barcelona, the two Brazilians returned to the Juan Carlos I hotel. Ronaldinho leaves after half an hour. Roberto and the Milan representatives keep talking for some more hours.
With a meeting between Milan and Barcelona cancelled, the Italians conclude their day with a dinner at the Casa Jacinto restaurant. They are there joined by Daniel Fonseca, the agent of Barcelona player Martín Cáceres.
Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that at that moment the situation is this: Manchester City offering "27+5", Milan offering "15+5", Ronaldinho preferring Milan, Barcelona willing to accept the Milan offer if they raise it to "20+5". Madrid sports tabloid Marca claims that Barcelona is asking "25+5". Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Milan offers "15+0", having raised that from the initial "10+0".
This morning the mini-meetings continue. Roberto tries to convince Milan to raise their bid. Txiki talks with Galliani. Manchester City put a better offer on the table. Sport claims that City raises its bid to "30+2".
At 1:30 pm there's a high level meeting scheduled at the Via Veneto restaurant. Galliani and Bronzetti meet with Roberto and with Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who is assisted by Txiki, Sanllehí and Barcelona board member Rafael Yuste, for a two-hour dinner.
Galliani and Bronzetti leave the table and return to the Juan Carlos I hotel to talk with Milan strong man and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Sport claims that they get the authorization to raise their bid to 20 million euro. The two go back to the restaurant.
After the final conclusion of the dinner, Galliani and Bronzetti meet with Roberto and financial advisers of the player in their hotel. Roberto goes to the Camp Nou for further talks with Yuste, Txiki, Sanllehí and two club lawyers. After one hour he returns to the Juan Carlos I hotal.
In Italy they then think it's a deal. La Gazzetta dello Sport says that the transfer price is "18,5+1,5". Galliani will go to the Camp Nou to finalize the last details with Laporta, Ronaldinho will fly tonight to Milan and will be presented tomorrow.
Milan lawyer Leandro Cantamessa says at the club's official website: "There is a good chance that Ronaldinho's move to Milan will materialise. Our law office has already prepared the necessary papers."
In Spain they have a slightly different interpretation. Laporta and Yuste tell journalists that there's no deal yet. Spanish news agency EFE claims that the last Milan offer has been rejected. Barcelona says tonight in a new official statement that the negotiations are still ongoing. To be continued.
Sources: Gazzetta dello Sport, El Mundo Deportivo, Sport, EFE