Ronaldinho set for Brazil return

Ronaldinho announced Thursday that AC Milan has freed him to seek a transfer to clubs in his native Brazil, though his contract with the Italian team still remained in force.

"We have signed an agreement with Milan, and today I am free to continue my life here in Brazil," the 30-year-old star told a media conference in Rio de Janeiro.

AC Milan's vice president Adriano Galliani, at his side, acknowledged that "in principle" the club had accepted Ronaldinho's request to play outside Italy. But he added: "I want to make it clear that Milan has not ended the contract with Ronaldinho...Ronaldinho has a full agreement with Milan. We will see what is the best decision for him."

On Wednesday, the midfielder had vented his frustration at Milan, claiming the San Siro side were dragging their heels on his planned transfer to Brazilian side Gremio.

I felt part of Milan's family and I will continue to feel that.

But Thursday he struck a more conciliatory tone. "The time I spent playing in Milan was wonderful," he said. "I felt part of Milan's family and I will continue to feel that," he said.

The former Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain forward is set to either join Gremio, or Flamengo, according to reports in the Brazilian press. He had earlier been linked with a move to Premier League club Blackburn.

Ronaldinho's agent and brother, Roberto de Assis, said the player's future "will be defined over the week, and we will evaluate offers from the clubs" interested in him.

"We have a contract with Milan, but there is an agreement giving us the freedom to negotiate with Brazilian clubs," he said, adding that the accord precludes the player from joining any other Italian club.