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Sunderland's August hoodoo

By ESPN Staff

Barca 'convinced' of keeping Ronaldinho

Barcelona sporting director Txiki Begiristain remains 'totally convinced' Ronaldinho will not leave for Chelsea or any other club as rumours persist they are keen to sign Blues target Daniel Alves from Sevilla.

Begiristain shrugged off rumours Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich held two meetings with Ronaldinho's brother and adviser in a bid to persuade the Barcelona star to join the Blues in the Barclays Premier League.

Begiristain insisted yesterday Ronaldinho, who has three years left on his current contract, is staying at the Nou Camp, while Barca have said nothing about rumours of a move for right-sided full-back Alves.

Begiristain told Catalunya Radio: 'We do not want to sell him.

'Ronaldinho is our player and I am totally convinced that he will remain at the club.

'In this aspect the decision of Barcelona is clear.

'It is normal that any of the big clubs in the world desire Ronaldinho, but he has signed a deal with us.'

Chelsea were linked with a £40million move for the Brazilian but, as usual, the club refused to comment on the rumours.

Meanwhile, England left-back Ashley Cole has paid tribute to midfielder Frank Lampard after the Chelsea ace scored his fourth goal in as many games for club and country against Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge.

Cole, who made a late goalline clearance to ensure Chelsea overcame battling Pompey, said: 'You come here and Frank is loved by the Chelsea fans and again he produced the magic that we needed.

'I think it is a disgrace personally that before the England game he got booed. A player like that needs to be shown some respect and him scoring in that game showed so much spirit and fight and belief in himself.

'For me he is one of the best midfielders around and he is also one of the most under-rated players. He was brilliant every time I watched Chelsea play when I was at Arsenal with the amount of goals and assists he gets, and he popped up again with the winner this game.

'For me, fighting spirit wins titles. We had it at Arsenal when I was there and the lads here show great fight and spirit every game and it shows when we are not playing well, we nick 1-0s and that is what we need to be champions.'