Who should Barcelona sign to replace Ronaldinho?

April 18, 2008

Kaka reactsThere’s speculation in Marca today that if AC Milan do complete a deal to sign Ronaldinho at the end of the season, they might be prepared to let Kaka move to Real Madrid.

That got me thinking about what the other knock-on effects might be, and especially about whether Barcelona would feel obliged to sign another big-name player as a replacement.

My own view is that this would be a good time for Barcelona to go down a different route. Ever since Joan Laporta took over as president they’ve pursued a relentless policy of buying in top names, from Ronaldinho to Deco, Samuel Eto’o and on to Thierry Henry.

For the first couple of seasons it worked very well, as the club regained their status as European heavyweights, won the league title and went on to claim the Champions League. Now, though, is surely the time to say enough is enough.

If Ronaldinho does go, the coach (whoever that might be) will still be able to call on Henry, Eto’o, Messi, Bojan and Giovani to fill the forward positions. And that’s the main difference between Barcelona now and Real Madrid when they were reaching the end of their ‘galactico’ era.

Real were so focused on their megastars that the squad as a whole had a threadbare look about it, which became increasingly obvious as time wore on. Barcelona have no such problems and if they manage to resist the temptation to throw money at another major forward it should just mean more space to grow for Bojan et al.

What do you reckon? Should Barcelona go out and sign a direct replacement — a Kaka, for example? Should they throw money at the Premier League to get a Torres or a Gerrard, Cesc Fabregas or even Cristiano Ronaldo (presumably untouchable, but you never know)? And while we’re at it, should Real Madrid pursue their interest in long-term target Kaka? Give us your ideas in the comments.

PHOTO: Kaka reacts during Milan’s Serie A game against AS Roma in Rome March 15, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Helgren


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Barca should sign Dani Alves and let Zambrotta go even for FREE! He has no idea about spanish game! And with all respect to Valdes (cause he always does his best), Barca should sign a classy and reliable keeper!

Posted by Rijkaard | Report as abusive

Barcelona should sign Steve Sidwell and Joey Barton.

Posted by KG | Report as abusive

ronaldinho is irreplaceable. i was looking forward to see how he’d play with kaka though hope ac doesnt sell him.

Posted by vivbarca123 | Report as abusive

I see the English press say Chelsea are considering a bid for Kaka now too. He has had a very average season.
I think Barcelona should use the Ronaldinho money (if he goes) and buy a new keeper.
They dont need another playmaker as they have one in Messi. This is their problem this year, too many creative players getting in each others way. Most teams would be happy (and work better) with just one of Deco, Ronaldinho, Messi and Henry.

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

With a healthy Messi and Eto’o (and Henry to a lesser extent), goals are no problem for Barca to come by. They’re the second highest scoring team in La Liga and their defense is every bit as good as Madrid’s. They should be looking too add a champion or two — someone with an absolute hatred for losing. Viera comes to mind and he could be had for cheap. Maybe another young star or two would help as well.

Kaka’s not leaving Milan any time soon. Same for Gerrard, Cesc or Ronaldo.

Posted by Marcus O’Mard | Report as abusive

this question is easy you only need to consider Real Madrid and Arsenal. Sell Ronaldinho, dont buy Kaka (too boring for Barca fans) and develop your abundance of talent to win together.


Posted by bill | Report as abusive

but with henry, eto’o, bojan, dos santos and messi if a new coach comes in and wants to play 4-4-2 then they will have a lack of wide midfielders. except for messi and dos santos

Posted by colin | Report as abusive

having earlier made the point about clubs only needing one playmaker, I’ve realised Milan will have two if Ronaldino joins Kaka (and the latter doesnt leave). The pair have worked reasonably well together for Brazil, however

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

Interesting ideas. I’ve got a feeling they’ll sign a goalkeeper (maybe one of the promising germans like neuer or adler) a defender or two and a midfielder (especially if deco goes).
It’s true they don’t have too many natural wing players either. Henry on the left and Eto’o on the right, with Bojan in the midfield looks to me like a terrible waste of talent, but that’s how they lined up against Schalke in the Champions League.
Alves has long been a target so I wouldn’t be surprised if they spend a chunk of the money on him

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

I agree with Kevin. Henry, Eto’o and Bojan are all hardwired to play the point. A natural Left Wing is called for. Especially one who plays different than Messi, who tends to drift to the center and take on the whole back line. Some one with alot of movement without the ball…who? I don’t know?

Posted by IceMel | Report as abusive

Pretty much agree with you Kevin. My choice? Arsene Wenger. Turn Barcelona into even more of a football factory but in a country where beautiful football is allowed to flourish rather destroyed as in Inglaterra.

Posted by Johnny Centreback | Report as abusive

My friend.. You’re logic is totally flawed. One. Barca are beginning to suffer from management and not bad players. Buying Henry last year was a total waste and look what Eto’o and Dinho have already done with them.

Also, Milan are going after Ronaldinho to find a partner for Kaka , not a replacement… Don’t you know ANYTHING about Milan team dynamics???

Gerrard, ??? Please, he’s not about to leave England, let alone Liverpool.. and Torres just signed with a new team where he had a spectacular season. He might even win the Champion’s League. I dont think Fabregas is leaving anywhere either. Why dont you talk about more likely options. People who actually would want to move, Drogba, Lampard, etc.

Once again, your logic so overflawed if you are implying a team hurts with more that one big name players.

Posted by amd67 | Report as abusive

I wonder why no one ever points out that the Achilles heel of Barcelona is their central defense. Agreed – Zambrotta out. Puyol has shown that he can do the right back extremely well. I love Lillian Thuram but he is too old to be reliable for 90 minutes for more than a game or two and definitely not for a season with Cups and La Liga. Valdes is a strong keeper in the technical shot stopping sense but his only way to advance the ball is to his backs and preferably as a roll. His deficiency in advancing the long ball to the forwards is mor ethan compensated by Barcelona’s deliberate style of advancing through each of their positions to set up the beautiful run. Leave him alone folks.

Coccini from Deportivo? Ferdinand from Man U (I’d prefer Vidic)? Gabi Heinze from Real Madrid? These would be more suitable to shore up Barcelona.

I do agree with the need to replace Deco with a hungry person in mid that can create. Would have loved it to be Javier Mascherano but Liverpool isn’t going to let him go.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I like the idea of Hleb coming in. But I’ve always wanted Cesc playing for them, especially if Henry sticks around, but they might then have too much depth at striker. It may be time for Deco to go. Playing FIFA with Henry on the left wing is awesome though and I hope one day he could adjust so him sharing the field with Bojan and Eto’o would really click, but…I really miss Henry in his glory days, and I hope we haven’t seen the last of them.

Dani Alves coming in would be a dream as well.

I don’t know why people are questioning Valdes, we’re talking about a defense that was number one in La Liga up until a couple weeks ago.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

barcelona need to buy daniel alves and ezequiel garay

Posted by goran | Report as abusive

i think the ideal event for barca is bringing wenger ,alves ,and a replacement for deco(much important and in my opinion its the reason of barca’s failure in this season).ronnie “DONT LEAVE US”.

Posted by jack jalali (iran) | Report as abusive

In response to the question – who should replace Ronnie at Barcelona? I think that he is leaving a void in both sporting and financial terms, one that will prove very hard to fill by any single individual.

On a purely sporting level, I think that perhaps David Silva could be a very shrewd purchase. He is naturally left footed and could play wide left in a 442 or left of the current 433 favoured by the club. Furthermore, he can also play just behind the strikers – what the Spanish call a mediapunto – and provide that creative spark that Barcelona will be deprived of if Ronnie depart. Silva can be the player that links Iniesta and Xavi to the forwards.

David Capel is another player rhat may be able to fill the gap on the pitch vacated by Ronnie, but for me, the Jury’s still out in him and I preifere to see him develop at Sevilla for a least another season.

On a financial level- in terms of the clubs global brand – Silva, Capel, Alves etc etc are not going to replace Ronnie. This is a major problem for the club and they will need to find someone who can have that kind of impact financially.

The diiference between the signings of the last couple of years and the early Lapora era signings is key. Take Henry, a world renowned player and already a Galactico, but one in decline. The club needs to go back to the blueprint that bought it so much success back in 2006 – namely signing players who’s star is in the ascendency, players who are, big, world class – but not quite Galactico status – on the cusp. hungry for success and who mature at Barcelona. This was the case with Ronnie when he left PSG.

Who is about to breakthrough like that in World football?I guess that’s the six million dollar question – and one that if we knew the answer to we wouldn’t be sat here writing on a blog. We’d be getting very rich somewhere.

Benzema has been mentioned, but who else? That is the kind of player that he being sought – but so is everybody else.

ttp://spanishfootball.typepad.com/la_lig a_review

Posted by La Liga Review | Report as abusive

They really do not need to replace Ronnie, they have all the elements for success except in defence. They should sign 2 good centre-backs. Boring, i know – but it would help them more than signing any more fantasy players. Am i wrong?
http://gentrystyle.com/2008/04/06/thinki ng-on-their-feet-footballers-with-attitu de/

Posted by Paolo | Report as abusive

Tks for that, La Liga Review. Quite. Who is on the brink? Alves looked to be on his way before this season, which seems to have been a little quieter.
As for less fashionable players, I’d heard they might be interested in another man from Sevilla, Christian Poulsen. He was a shrewd signing when they took him from Schalke. Otherwise, I imagine Barca will be among the clubs after Flamini if he doesn’t sign a new contract.
And isn’t it extraordinary that a team which already has this much attacking talent continues to struggle for goals (see tonight’s goalless draw with Espanyol).

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

ronaldinho should not leave barca. if barca show that they still believe in him he will do amazing things, what barca need to do is aim to sell a striker ie eto’o or henry. and it is also time or deco to leave. he is the black sheep of the squad

Posted by alex hunotn | Report as abusive

Why not get in someone who is obviously an up and coming talent, without the ridiculously high price, and that has the potential to help the team in an area where they’re not strongest. To me the liking or Micah Richards, who still has alot to learn but is quickly becoming a very good player!

Posted by paul | Report as abusive

i think ronaldinho isnt really replaceable but if messi keeps his form along with henry,eto ,deco ,xavi and bojan barca can do it….

but still if id say a player to go to barca for ronnie….id like to see pirlo exchanged for dinho (same superpasses..and free kick master as well! i can really imagine pirlo providing for messi and henry…ouch!! :)

Posted by hamdy | Report as abusive

Barcelona should sign Cristiano Ronaldo! lolz… Anyhow, i wouldn’t want to see Ronaldo on a Barca shirt. So i guess Barca should just stick with their young guns.

The only sad part of Barca is that Lionel Messi is always injured!

Posted by goalcentre.com | Report as abusive

Still no sign of white smoke, by the way. http://football.uk.reuters.com/european/ news/L20206535.php
Probably just a matter of time, though.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

And an interesting call on Micah Richards, Paul. I know he received high praise earlier this season. How’s he been doing lately?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Some in Italy are beginning to think it may have just been an election ploy by Berlusconi to say he was buying Ronaldinho. All the Milan fans voted for him and he is now prime minister again. He did a similar thing by claiming he’d sign Totti six years ago. He became PM but totti obviously stayed at Roma

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

after today its gotta be big john carew

Posted by tokintony | Report as abusive

well i don’t think barca need any replacement for ronaldinoh cause they have alot of playmakers which they have not been featuring and so many talent on the bench which have not been taped and i believe if they consider all this the only thing they should be considering is signing a good and capable central defender

Posted by loveday | Report as abusive

i think barca should gt essien in he would give the powerhouse that the middle needs and id go and get silva and the valenica goal keeper they are going to have to sell after this year and no champions league next year.

Posted by bernard molan | Report as abusive

nothing to do with Barca player,Barca play wonderful football and the whole world know about it .what ever team face Barca will play more defencive football .that why now it very dificult for Barca to score against them .I think Barca should change or improve more on the way they play .it is very hard n it need to have a litter of luck as well. Well done Barca .

Posted by randy | Report as abusive

I don’t think Ronaldinho is what MILAN needs right now. I rather have Ronaldinho staying with Barca. Milan needs younger and fit players. Young defense, that was Milan need right now.

http://italiansoccerseriea.com/2008/04/2 1/latest–italian-serie-a-transfers-news. aspx

Posted by Anna Italia | Report as abusive