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Ronaldinho: I Knew Lionel Messi Was a Better Player than Me

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The Brazilian legend recognizes Messi’s place in the pantheon of all-time greats

Barcelona v Celtic - UEFA Champions League Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Former Barcelona star Ronaldinho has said that he always knew Lionel Messi would surpass even the Brazilian’s own lofty heights, in an interview with FourFourTwo from 2014 that has recently been republished online.

How tough a decision was it to leave Barcelona? Is there any truth in the story that they felt you were a bad influence on a young Lionel Messi?

Shaun Robertson, via Facebook

It was easy – it was time to go. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of [Frank] Rijkaard, 
who was my coach and said great things about Milan. I had other options, but I wanted to play for Milan. As for that stuff about Messi, it’s not true; you shouldn’t always believe what you read. I always tried to be a good influence on him and actually try to do for him what Ronaldo did for me. I felt embraced by Ronaldo and I wanted Leo to have the same. Messi was always very shy, but always a fantastic player. We lived on the same street, so I had a great relationship with him and his family. Even then I knew he was a better player than me.

The whole thing is worth a read, so check it out if you have the time.