May 29, 2010 - 05969036 date 28 05 2010 Copyright imago Chicago Illinois USA 28 05 2010 A C Milan Ronaldinho Na MECZU Chicago Cubs I St Louis Cardinals n Z Ronaldinho A C Milan Kamil PL A C Milan Midfield Ronaldinho throws out Ceremonial First Pitch AT Wrigley Field Before Chicago Cubs and St Louis Cardinals Game in Chicago Before International Soccer Game Against Chicago Fire ON Sunday May 30 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxPOL Football men Baseball MLB Single cut out Vdig 2010 vertical Highlight premiumd.

This is not a good look

It is yet to be seen if there's anything to these Ronaldinho-to-LA rumors that have popped up during the last week. The Brazilian played well enough at Milan last year to earn a new contract offer, Flamengo would love to have him back in Brazil, and LA's league position doesn't scream desperation. Ronaldinho won't come cheap, and I don't just mean in salary.

Which is the biggest reason to believe he won't end up in MLS this summer. As J. Hutcherson notes today, it will take a significant transfer fee to get Ronalidinho out of Italy; for a league that has never, ever, paid that much to buy a player, we have to wonder why they would start now. Sure, Ronaldinho is a big name and big talent, but if the rumors are true, why the shift in philosophy so suddenly?

Never mind that by most estimations a rule or two would have to change for the Galaxy to fit Ronaldinho into their squad. As a DP he would hit their cap for less than $500k, but how would the transfer fee figure into their league budget? In the past, transfer fees have always counted against a team's salary cap; is MLS going to enact an exemption for everyone, or is LA the only team that will benefit? Is a rule change/hold even in play?

Too many questions to answer, though the implications of Ronaldinho-to-LA go well beyond another aging superstar coming to the States. Henry was given his release by Barcelona and signed with New York without a dime being paid by Red Bull. His signing was always seen as a foregone conclusion in light of his love for the US and the city of New York. He cost MLS nothing beyond salary (the majority of which the club will pay themselves); Henry is the classic Designated Player (if such a thing exists) and fits all the usual criteria. Signing Ronaldinho would be a completely different thing altogether.

None of this would be in question if hints hadn't come from someone who should know (Dave Checketts). Typically, we might laugh off the Ronaldinho rumors, at least when it became clear that he would cost something. MLS is not a buying league, at least not at these levels.

Unless...and this is purely conjectural should the Ronalidinho rumors be true and some massive rule change isn't coming out of the league office...Donovan is already sold, his fee will help offset Ronalindho's purchase price, and the Brazilian is being brought in to help LA absorb the loss of their best player and the absence of Beckham.

Does that even make any sense? Without a hard Donovan rumor to go on, and there hasn't been a whiff in quite some time, it's half-baked at best, crazy at worst.

Let's go with crazy.

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 22:  Real Salt Lake team owner Dave Checketts poses with the Philip F. Anschutz MLS Cup trophy following their win in the MLS Cup final at Qwest Field on November 22, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images for MLS)

Number 1 in MLS, Number 1 in spreading rumors

If Dave Checketts hadn't said anything, I'd simply toss this rumor out of the window and move on. Ronaldinho would be a huge signing, that's a certainty. But if he costs MLS $13 million just to get him here, it's hard to imagine they would consider that a good deal. They're used to getting their big names for free.

Forget it. The rumor has to be nonsense. MLS couldn't possibly be considering paying seven figures for anyone; Checketts must have had his details wrong, or was assuming that Milan would let Ronaldinho go without a transfer fee. In fact, Milan's €10 million valuation may not have been set when Checkett's dropped his hint on Salt Lake City radio last week. That number is a deal breaker for the ultra-thrifty MLS. There are too many leaps of faith involved.

And yes, it's disappointing to come to that realization, both because I would love to have Ronalidinho in MLS and because the transfer fee paid would represent an evolutionary step for the league. From an observer's standpoint, it would be fascinating to analyze.

In the end, it's interesting that MLS is linked with a player like Ronaldinho while his saga winds down at Milan. Even if he isn't coming, it's clear the league's ramped up incentives for offsetting a DP cap hit are working on some level. Not a $13 million transfer fee level, but some level nonetheless.

Rumors are fun. I think this one is just that and nothing more. No matter how much Becks wants him to come to LA.
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