While talking about the greatest soccer player in the history of soccer, Lionel Messi is a household name. Several former and current soccer players and managers rank Messi as the GOAT. However, Messi has been recently stabbed in the back by his former Barcelona teammate Ronaldinho. Ronaldinho’s revelation has come as a bolt from the blue and has left soccer fans stunned.
According to reports, Ronaldinho recently admitted that he can’t name Lionel Messi as the best soccer player of all time. He said, “I’m glad Messi won the Ballon d’Or. We were also friends during our time at Barcelona. But I don’t like to compare, and I find it difficult to say he is the best of all time.” However, Ronaldinho did say that Messi is the best soccer player of his era.
Ronaldinho: “Is Messi the best player of all time? It is difficult to say, there are so many other players. I don’t like to compare. You had Maradona, Pele, there were so many. Every one of them was the best in their own time.” pic.twitter.com/rfefMidK5F
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) September 21, 2022
According to Ronaldinho, Diego Maradona, Pele, and Ronaldo Nazario come ahead of Messi in the pecking order. While Ronaldinho’s statement does come as a betrayal to his former teammate, the Brazil legend has always sung the highest of praises for Messi. Back in 2015, Ronaldinho had said, “He (Messi) is the best in the world, and there’s nothing more to be said.”
Just listen to Messi’s response on the GOAT debate. The reason you just love him the more. Film 🎥 by @cnnsport pic.twitter.com/5JITQ7ZDZr
— Oma Akatugba (official) (@omaakatugba) May 10, 2023
Lionel Messi, on the other hand, will probably take Ronaldinho’s comments with a pinch of salt. The Argentine star has frequently stated that he doesn’t believe in comparisons. Most recently, he was asked by a reporter during the Lauereus Sports Awards whether he was the best soccer player ever. Messi quite humbly responded that he doesn’t give importance to such debates.
Ronaldinho’s influence on a young Lionel Messi
While most people consider Lionel Messi to be the best player in FC Barcelona’s history, Messi doesn’t think the same. The 2022 World Cup hero considers Ronaldinho to be Barca’s best and most influential player ever. Messi has previously said, “Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barca. It was a bad time and the change that came about with his arrival was amazing.”
Messi and Ronaldinho share a unique and very close relationship. The PSG star considers Ronaldinho to be his idol and has admitted that he has learned a lot from him. When Messi arrived at Barcelona’s first team, the Brazil legend took a young Lionel Messi under his wing. Moreover, Messi’s first official goal for Barcelona was assisted by Ronaldinho.
16 years ago today, Ronaldinho set up Lionel Messi for his first ever Barcelona goal 😍
That celebration 💙❤️pic.twitter.com/7buh3QDQHw
— GOAL (@goal) May 1, 2021
The former AC Milan star played a vital role in helping Messi’s transition from the lower ranks to Barca’s first team. Although Ronaldinho wasn’t always the best influence for Messi. There have been several reports and documentaries that reveal that Ronaldinho’s departure was an important step taken by Barca for protecting Messi’s future.
Despite his out-of-the-world soccer abilities, Ronaldinho frequently indulged in drinking and partying which adversely affected his performance. Considering how Messi was hugely influenced by Ronaldinho, the then-Barca coach Pep Guardiola had reportedly demanded the exit of Ronaldinho from the club as an attempt to protect Messi.
Guardiola’s decision ultimately ended up being a masterstroke as Ronaldinho’s exit facilitated unprecedented success for Messi. Although to this date, Messi has expressed his regret about not getting more time to play with Ronaldinho. The two stars shared a heartwarming moment during the 2008 Olympic Games just a month after Ronaldinho’s exit which symbolized the passing of the baton at FC Barcelona.