AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani claims Ronaldinho has rejected a lucrative offer from Manchester City, despite the English club offering twice what the Italian giants can.
Milan and City have both vigorously pursued the signature of Ronaldinho this summer after Barcelona announced they were open to offers for the Brazil playmaker, but the Rossoneri are short on cash and have admitted they cannot compete financially with City's offer.
However, the player himself has said publicly that he would prefer a move to Milan or even Chelsea, and Galliani claims he has made good on that claim by turning down a higher wage - reportedly up to 250,000 euros a week (£197,963) - from City to focus instead on a move to Milan.
'Ronaldinho has rejected the offer of Manchester City despite them offering twice as much as we can,' Galliani told Italian newspaper La Stampa.
He added that the main stumbling block in any deal to bring him to Milan would be Ronaldinho's wages, not the transfer fee.
'He is not in the plans of (Barcelona coach Pep) Guardiola, so he has a more favourable price,' Galliani said.
'But the problem is the wages. For us to be able to afford him, the transfer fee would have to be close to nothing.'
Galliani has raised the possibility of signing the 28-year-old on loan in order to make the deal more affordable, but admitted: 'It depends on Barcelona.'
Milan have hinted at financial problems this summer, repeatedly stating that they can only afford to make one major signing and that they are unable to compete with major clubs in England and Spain for the top players.
However, they have resisted any urge to sell players, despite what Galliani described as an 'astronomical offer' from Chelsea for Kaka.
'An astronomical offer came in from Chelsea for Kaka, and (Andrea) Pirlo has received more than one request,' he said.
'But by the way, neither Andrea nor his agent have ever come to us asking for more money.'
Milan have also been linked with Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor, but Galliani admitted the club's financial situation made a deal unlikely.
'Adebayor is thinking about Milan, as are (Didier) Drogba and Ronaldinho, but if I let Barcelona take him, it's not because I'm crazy,' he said.
'It's difficult to compete with those who are making more money than you and who benefit from a more advantageous tax system.
'A year ago, Milan offered (Thierry) Henry the same money as Barcelona, but in Spain he takes home 50% more. In the 90s, we stopped (Marco) van Basten from going to Barcelona and were able to bring in (Jean-Pierre) Papin too. Things are less competitive now. (Arsene Wenger) has told me he wants 45 million (euros, £35.63million), which is an impossible amount.'
The financial restrictions on Milan have led to frustrations among their fans, already unhappy at their failure to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Some have even been seeking to force owner Silvio Berlusconi to sell, but Galliani sent a message to those fans, insisting the club was doing all it could and that Berlusconi's support remains imperative.
'We do not have a transfer kitty stashed away here,' he said. 'Despite failing to qualify for the Champions League, the club is strengthening the squad and increasing the wages. This means we'll be 44 million euros (£34.84million) in the red without Berlusconi's help.
'The fans should be happy, as all we'd need to do in order to wipe out our debts is sell Kaka and Andrea Pirlo. Instead, they won't move, so if that's not a show of love for this side, I don't know what is.'