In an astonishing allegation revealed today, the Barcelona President Joan Laporta says that Chelsea offered himself and his assistant, Sandro Rosell, a 10m euro “commision” payment, if they organized the sale of Ronaldinho to Chelsea in 2004.
Laporta wrote in his book about his years at Barcelona, and he said that Rossell told him that Chelsea had offered 100m euros for Ronaldinho: “I told him to get it out of his head, that Ronnie was not for sale and I didn’t want to talk about it any more but he added: ‘Joan, they are giving us a commission of 10 per cent.’
“Sandro kept insisting about the offer of Chelsea pretending he didn’t want it to happen.
“He reminded me that if we accepted they were giving us 10m euros to share between us. That attitude made me profoundly indignant.”
Laporta fell out with his assistant the following year, and is today the favourite to become the next President of the Catalan club in the forthcoming elections. Pundits think that this is just Laportas way of smearing Rossell in the run-up.
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Rossell completely denies the allegations, and has threatened Laporta with legal action if the offending words are not withdrawn. He said: “After reading the accusations levelled at me by Mr Laporta in his book, for a supposed commission for the transfer to Chelsea FC of the player Ronaldinho, and analysing the gravity of those, I want to say that it’s absolutely false that this offer was made from my part to Mr Laporta.
“The recounting of this episode, for its total and absolute falsehood, constitutes a grave attack on my honour, and for that reason I reserve my right to take judicial action.”
Chelsea have also refuted any suggestion they made an illegal offer. A spokesman said: “It’s total nonsense. We never made such an offer.”
It will be interesting to see if Laporta can come up with any concrete evidence to back up the allegations, but one things for sure, it is good publicity for his book!
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