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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 30, 2007

Brazil striker Ronaldo joins AC Milan

ROME, Jan 30 (Reuters) - AC Milan signed Brazil striker Ronaldo from Real Madrid on Tuesday for €7.5 million.

The 30-year-old striker, three-times FIFA World Player of the Year, signed an 18-month contract until June 30, 2008, the Serie A club announced.

Milan are paying €7.5 million for the Brazilian up front and an extra 0.5 million if they qualify for the Champions League this season or next, the Italian club's vice-president Adriano Galliani said.

'It is a very satisfactory agreement for a top-class player,' Galliani told reporters at the Bernabeu in Madrid where Ronaldo signed his new deal.

'I'll be delighted to pay the full eight million because it will mean Milan have qualified for the Champions League.'

Ronaldo, who inspired Brazil to World Cup victory in 2002 and holds the record for goals scored in World Cup tournaments with 15, was flying later to Milan, the city where he played for his new club's rivals Inter from 1997 to 2002.

He becomes the 10th foreign player to play for both Inter and Milan, joining a select group that includes Clarence Seedorf, Hernan Crespo, Edgar Davids and Patrick Vieira.

Real coach Fabio Capello, talking to Italian regional TV station Tele Lombardia in Madrid, said: 'I wish him the best of luck in doing what he used to do which is being a great player.'

Ronaldo had been angling for a move ever since Capello, who arrived from Juventus at the start of the season, criticised him as being overweight and said he was no longer in his plans.

He seemed to make reference to the deterioration of his relationship with the Italian coach as he left the Bernabeu on his way to the airport.

'I would like to thank the fans who've supported me all the time and thank all the team mates that I've had here and all the coaches I've had - except one,' he said.

'It's sad because I've been here four-and-a-half years, but now I've got another important challenge in my life and that is to succeed in Milan.

'It breaks your heart, but that's life. It is a shame.

'I never had any problems with the coach, but he didn't want me and as I'm a professional I wanted to carry on playing and so we looked for another solution.'

Real confirmed the deal in a statement on their website which said: 'Real Madrid would like to recognise everything that this special player has given the club during his time here. Madrid fans will never forget the moments of great football that he has provided.'

The move ends more than two weeks of negotiations between the clubs for the Brazilian, whose contract with Real was due to expire at the end of next season.

Ronaldo scored 104 goals for Real since joining them in August 2002.

He was the club's leading scorer in each of his four previous seasons in Spain but had limited opportunities to shine following knee surgery after the World Cup last year with coach Fabio Capello preferring Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy up front.

In a separate but related deal, Real Madrid were reported to be close to agreeing to sign Milan's Brazilian striker Ricardo Oliveira on loan until the end of the season.

The 26-year-old, who has scored just two league goals since joining Milan from Real Betis for a reported fee of €17.5 million on the final day of the close season, was left out of the Milan squad for Wednesday's Italian Cup match against AS Roma.