Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldinho receives work visa; Barkley rehab ahead of schedule; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldinho receives work visa; Barkley rehab ahead of schedule; and more

European Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldinho receives work visa; Barkley rehab ahead of schedule; and more

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RonaldinhoMexicoCity1 (AFP)

By DAN KARELL

Ronaldinho has received his work permit, but he won’t be able to make his debut on Friday.

Due to the Liga MX schedule and complications in acquiring a work permit, Ronaldinho and his brother, Assis, who acts as the player’s agent, are both expected to arrive in Mexico on either Thursday evening or Friday morning. While there isn’t enough time to integrate the former World Player of the Year into the squad for the Friday match against Puebla, there’s a strong chance that Ronaldinho will be presented to the fans during the match.

“We’re looking for him to flying in with his brother,” Queretaro president Arturo Villanueva said. “We will try our best, but it is safer to travel (Thursday) and arrive in the evening or Friday morning.”

Queretaro made waves around the world last Friday when they announced that they had signed the 34-year-old Brazilian midfielder. Ronaldinho was a free agent after mutually terminating his contract with Atletico Mineiro midway through the 2014 Brazilian season.

Ronaldinho could now make his debut either in the Copa MX next Wednesday against Tigres UANL or on the road in Liga MX action at Chivas de Guadalajara.

Here are some more notes to start off your Thursday:

BARKLEY REHAB AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

Everton suffered a major blow just prior to the start of the English Premier League season when they lost Ross Barkley to injury, but the England international is making good progress in his recovery.

According to manager Roberto Martinez, Barkley is two weeks ahead of schedule in his rehab from suffering damage to his medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

“Ross is progressing well but is still receiving treatment,” Martinez said. “He’s in week four now and is probably a couple of weeks ahead of where he should be. But he’s still halfway through his recovery period.”

RIBERY STANDS PAT ON RETIREMENT

Franck Ribery isn’t bothered by recent comments made by UEFA president Michel Platini.

The Bayern Munich winger has stated he has no plans of coming out of international retirement to play for France, even with the 2016 Euros taking place in his home country. This comes in contrast to Platini reportedly threatening club suspension if Ribery is called up for friendly matches and refuses to accept the call.

“I have already said before I have retired from international duty and I will not go back on my decision,” Ribery told the German newspaper Der Welt. “I have discussed this with France coach Deschamps and we reached an agreement on it. I want to focus completely on Bayern Munich in the future. That’s all I want to say about the matter. I am not going to get involved in all the politics surrounding my decision.”

QUICK KICKS

Borussia Dortmund winger Jakub ‘Kuba’ Blaszczykowski will miss another four weeks with a muscle tear. Blaszczykowski hasn’t played a Bundesliga match since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last January. (REPORT)

PSG are expected to sign Marco Verratti to a contract extension through 2019. (REPORT)

Aston Villa have signed speedy forward Gabriel Agbonlahor to a new four-year contract. (REPORT)

Former Portugal National Team head coach Carlos Queiroz has agreed to remain as head coach of Iran’s National Team. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Excited to see Ronaldinho arrive in Mexico? Do you see Barkley coming back by the end of the month? What do you think of Ribery’s comments?

Share your thoughts below.

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