sport

Indian interest in Ronaldinho

Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho is a primary target for the Indian Super League's Chennai outfit, according to senior club official Prashant Agarwal.

The former Barcelona and AC Milan forward is a free agent after his contract with Athletico Miniero expired and has reportedly seen negotiations with several Brazilian sides scuppered due to his financial demands.

But the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year could be bound for the inaugural eight-team league set to kick-off on October 12 after informal talks began over a move to India earlier this week.

Talks between Chennai officials and Ronaldinho's brother and agent Roberto are expected to take place in Rome following the World Cup winner's participation in Monday's Match for Peace - endorsed by Pope Francis.

"It's true that I would love Ronaldinho to come to India but I am only one of 1.2 billion who would like to see that," Agarwal told Sky Sports.

"I have worked extensively with players who have played in Serie A over the years and am personally travelling to Rome to finalise negotiations with some of them to join Chennai's Super League project.

"We'd like Ronaldinho to be part of that project and I'm confident we can offer him a package which reflects his status as one of the most naturally gifted footballers on the planet.

"I am conducting the majority of player negotiations for Team Chennai myself and the opportunities for someone of his profile in a marketplace like India are immense.

"He would certainly capture the hearts and minds of people in the country."

Former Juventus strikers Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet, Arsenal 'Invincibles' Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg and ex-Liverpool pair David James and Luis Garcia will all play in the league.

Former Newcastle and Sunderland striker Michael Chopra, whose grandparents hail from Punjab, will play for Kerala Blasters, the side co-owned by former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

The league is backed by the All-India Football Federation, its marketing partner IMG-Reliance and braodcaster Star Sports.

Agarwal added: "There is an incredible desire to make this league a success. Nita Ambani (the league's founding chairperson) in particular, has championed this huge development for Indian football and has helped uunleash a platform for the sport that we have always dreamt of."