Blackburn Rovers' hopes of completing the audacious signing of Ronaldinho appear to have been dashed after AC Milan confirmed the Brazilian is set to return home.
Premier League Rovers claimed on Tuesday to have made contact with the playmaker's representative over a possible move to Ewood Park.
Manager Steve Kean was hopeful that a deal could be agreed for the former World Player of the Year, while the club's ambitious new owners, the Venky's group, have been upfront in their plans.
But Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has echoed owner Silvio Berlusconi in announcing he expects Ronaldinho, 30, to go back to South America, with home-town club Gremio a reported destination.
Allegri said at a press conference on Wednesday: "We are all sorry to lose a player of the quality of Ronaldinho.
"But he has made a life choice by going to Brazil."
Ronaldinho's current contract with Milan expires at the end of the season and, with the Rossoneri having already signed Antonio Cassano from Sampdoria, there is no space for the former Barcelona star.
Brazilian media outlet Radio Globo have claimed Ronaldinho has been in Rio De Janeiro to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal with Gremio.
The talented playmaker has slammed his Serie A club for dragging their heels on his anticipated exit, accusing them of making unreasonable financial demands to delay a return to his former club.
"I'm not up for auction. If it was up to me I'd already be wearing the Gremio jersey even if it means earning less," Ronaldinho told the Globoesporte website.
"The problem isn't the offer that has been made for me but Milan's demands."