FC Barcelona are poised to make their third major signing of the summer by purchasing the highly rated Sporting Clube de Portugal winger Ricardo Quaresma for a fee in the region of €6m.
The 19-year-old, who made his international debut for Portugal against Bolivia last month, will sign a four-year contract with the option of another season at Camp Nou. As part of the deal, Brazilian international Fabio Rochemback, who joined Barça from SC Internacional in 2001, could travel in the opposite direction for a season.
'The new Figo'
"I know that supporters will demand a lot from me," Quaresma said. "I will work extremely hard and I am prepared to stand up to the pressure." The player has been described as the new Luis Figo - a Catalan favourite prior to his departure for Real Madrid CF - but Quaresma is keen to maintain his own identity. "The new Figo?" he said. "People will see me for who I am."
UEFA Cup entrants Barcelona have already recruited Turkish international goalkeeper Rüstü Reçber and Mexico captain Rafael Márquez, who arrived yesterday from AS Monaco FC for €5m. Coach Frank Rijkaard said the spending spree will not end with Quaresma: "There are other positions to strengthen. We are having talks with other players but nothing is definite yet."
One of those could be Ronaldinho, the Paris Saint-Germain FC and Brazil midfield player. Barcelona president Joan Laporta confirmed his club had made an official bid for the FIFA World Cup winner. "I don't want to go into details," he said. "But we have made a firm and serious offer that reflects what a great club like Barcelona is capable of doing."
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