SAO PAULO -- Ronaldinho is set to end his contract with AC Milan on Wednesday, clearing the way for his return to his native Gremio, the Brazilian club said.
Gremio said Ronaldinho and his agent and brother Roberto Assis were traveling to Rio de Janeiro to meet with AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani and finalize his release from the Italian club.
Gremio spokesman Vitor Rodriguez said Ronaldinho and Assis are expected to return to Porto Alegre later Wednesday to finalize the deal with the club where he started his career in 1998.
Four clubs have been trying to sign Ronaldinho, but the two-time FIFA player of the year has said his main desire is to play for Gremio again. Brazilian clubs Flamengo and Palmeiras and English side Blackburn also have made offers to acquire the playmaker.
Ronaldinho said earlier Wednesday that he was willing to lower his salary to play for Gremio, but that the club's offer was still not good enough to please AC Milan.
"If it was up to me, I would already be wearing Gremio's jersey, even making less money," Ronaldinho was quoted as saying by the GloboEsporte.com website. "The problem is not the offer (the clubs) made me, but it's what Milan is asking for. No one has gotten close."
Milan reportedly wanted nearly 8 million ($10.6 million) to release Ronaldinho, but could be willing to release the player to avoid having to keep paying his high salary.
Ronaldinho, who had been playing sporadically with the Italian club and had been expressing his desire to return to Brazil, was reportedly authorized to leave the team's training camp and travel to Brazil after New Year's Eve.
Assis has been analyzing the clubs' offers and negotiating with AC Milan for the past few days in Brazil.
He met with Gremio officials on Wednesday to discuss the team's offer, but Flamengo and Palmeiras directors both said they remained optimistic.
Galliani reportedly said the offer from Luiz Felipe Scolari's Palmeiras was the best financially, but Palmeiras representative Roberto Tadeu told ESPN Brasil that in the end it would come down to Ronaldinho's choice.
Blackburn said Tuesday it was attempting to sign Ronaldinho, but manager Steve Kean acknowledged it was unlikely the Brazilian star would pick the Premier League club.
Ronaldinho won consecutive FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2004 and '05 while with Barcelona and led the Spanish club to the Champions League title in 2006. He also helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup, under Scolari.