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Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto'o not needed
New coach Josep Guardiola has plans for a dressing room clean out at Barcelona.
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2008 14:19 GMT

Samuel Eto'o, left, and Ronaldinho, right, may be surplus to Barcelona requirements [GALLO/GETTY]

Josep Guardiola, new Barcelona coach, has said star attacking players Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto'o do not feature in his plans at the La Liga club.
 
Guardiola, former Spain and Barca midfielder, has signed a two-year contract with the club, replacing Frank Rijkaard who was sacked at the end of last season.
"We are putting a team together and they aren't in our thoughts but we'll see what happens," Guardiola said at his official presentation.
 
"This comes from analysing questions of performance, seasons they have had in the team, and other intangibles."
After two years without silverware, and a disappointing third-place finish in the league last season, an overhaul at the Nou Camp was always on the cards.

Ronaldinho, 28-year-old Brazil forward who shone for the club when they won back-to-back league titles and a European Cup in 2006, suffered a string of injury and fitness problems last year and started only 13 of 38 league matches.

"If it was felt Ronaldinho wanted to return to be the player he was, he would be here... "

Josep Guardiola, 
Barcelona coach
"If it was felt Ronaldinho wanted to return to be the player he was, he would be here," Guardiola said of the player who has been courted by Manchester City and AC Milan.

"But there has been a deterioration in the situation and I want to forge a strong dressing room."

Like Ronaldinho, Portugal midfielder Deco, 30, who joined from Porto in 2004, has struggled to recapture his early form at Barca and has been linked with a move to Chelsea and Inter Milan.

Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o', 27, has been their first-choice striker since 2004 but missed a large part of the last two seasons through injury, while his outspoken approach saw him have run-ins with team mates and Rijkaard.

Experience doubts

"We are looking for a number nine who will complement Thierry Henry and Bojan Krkic, so that the three will all feel like first choices." Guardiola said.

Guardiola was a member of Johan Cruyff's so-called "Dream team", who won four consecutive league titles between 1991 and 1994 and the European Cup in 1992, but his managerial experience extends to leading Barca B to promotion to the Segunda B (third tier) last weekend.

"I understand the doubts people may have over my experience. I know I am here because of my past as a player," the 37-year-old said.

"I feel the doubts will start to recede in a couple of months because I am convinced in my abilities.

"I would like to promise titles but I can't and I think it would be a mistake. I know we don't have time to lose. I want us to dominate games, I am a big fan of attacking football and prefer to see the ball in the other team's half."

Joan Laporta, Barca president, is facing a vote of confidence in his administration from club members and was generous in his backing for a former fans' favourite.

"He combines all the conditions necessary to be the best coach in the history of Barcelona football club," Laporta said of Guardiola.

"He knows enough about football and the club, and will assure us of modern, attacking football."

Source:
Agencies
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