Ronaldinho is used to getting what he wants, as far as soccer is concerned. This is why he appears to be headed for Turkey.
The Brazilian star has reportedly agreed to join Besiktas after the Turkish club agreed to give him the latest payday in his lucratively stellar career.
The Independent reports the 33-year-old will leave Atletico Mineiro for Turkey with hopes that the move will advance his case for a spot on Brazil’s 2014 FIFA World Cup team.
“Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf report that the 33-year-old’s contract could earn the former Barcelona midfielder over £10 million [$16.5 million] spread over two and a half years,” the report says.
“Managed by Slaven Bilic, Beşiktaş are fourth in the Turkish Super Lig but have offered Ronaldinho the perfect platform with which to impress Scolari with just six months to go until Brazil kick-off against Croatia on 12th June.”
If the report is true, Ronaldinho will end an 18-month tenure at Meineiro, during which he helped bring star power and on-field success to the Brazilian club. He led it to a second-place finish in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A (Brazil’s first division) in 2012 and its first-ever Copa Libertadores (South American champions league) title 2013.
The 2013 FIFA Club World Cup marked his return to the international spotlight. While Moroccan club Raja Casablanca upset Mineiro in the semifinal, Ronaldinho thrilled fans and opponents alike with his trademark free-kick goals and toothy smile at the tournament.
Ronaldinho’s enduring celebrity and considerable skills may have convinced Besiktas to agree to an eye-popping list of demands in order to sign him. Spanish newspaper Marca reports his agent (and brother), Roberto de Assis, has demanded that the club makes the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year’s life in Istanbul a comfortable one.
“Ronaldinho is asking for seven plane tickets a year to travel to Brazil with his family,” Marca reports. “He also wants a car of his choice, along with a chauffeur and fuel, both to be paid for by Besiktas; and the wages of his domestic staff to be paid for by the club. Ronaldinho would choose his sponsors individually. He also wants a fixed phone and a mobile at the club’s expense. And after one year he could be transferred.
“As for financial rewards, a figure of €6 million ($8.2 million) is being spoken of, plus a percentage of shirt sales and an 8 percent penalty clause in case of a delay of over two months in the payment of his salary.”
Besiktas is not competing in either European competitions (UEFA banned it because of 2011 match-fixing allegations), but it hopes to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League with a top-two finish in Turkey’s Super Lig (first division). It sits fourth in the league after 17 games with 29 points — four fewer than rivals Galatasaray.
If Ronaldinho joins Besiktas this month and propels it up the standings, those voices calling on Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to include the veteran forward on Brazil’s World Cup team will only grow louder.