When asked about the rumours that a January swoop would be possible, club patron Berlusconi's response to journalists was clear: "If only!"

Earlier in the day, Italian super agent Enzo Bronzetti told Radio Centro Suono Sport: "Never has a President expressed more desire for a player than Berlusconi has for Ronaldinho.

"There are links with Chelsea and Manchester United, but at Milan there is a hardcore of Brazilians and the Diavolo are in pole position if he chooses to quit Barca.

"It's the fifth year of his contract at the Nou Camp and he wants between £5m and £7m annually, which would be a huge investment for the club."