Brazilian-legend Ronaldinho Gaúcho has rejected a $100,000 contract offer from the Wollongong Wolves to play in their FFA Cup game against Sydney FC in Wollongong on Wednesday.
The South American champion was reportedly interested in coming to Australia to play in the A-League for the coming season. Ronaldinho hasn’t played for a club side since 2015.
The Wolves were disappointed they could not land the marquee signing.
“This would be perfect timing to put him on a stage and present his worth to the other clubs. Unfortunately, his demands meant it was not commercially viable for us as football club,” Wolves’ Director of Community Engagement Dean Merola said.
However, the Wolves’ may still benefit from the talks.
“On a positive note, he did bring a lot of international press our way,” he said.
Fans were eager for Ronaldinho to come to Australian shores. Ronaldinho has played for European clubs Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and A.C. Milan. Jaiden Stolk, a fan who has grown up watching the Brazilian star.
“Ronaldinho would have to be the biggest name to grace the A-League if the league managed to get him,” Stolk said.
Stolk said the contract negotiations showed the Wolves have a positive future.
“Their name is being tossed around for a possible A-League expansion club. It [marquee signings] would be a good push for that,” he said.
Melbourne City player Corey Gameiro was born and raised in Wollongong. He came through the Wolves’ academy. Gameiro has seen what big names have done for the A-League and would like to line-up against Ronaldinho one day.
“He is one of the greatest players of all time, so it would be a privilege to have him in our league,” Gameiro said.
This year, Ronaldinho has played in charity matches and a five-a-side friendly tournament in India.