Footballing legend Ronaldinho believes Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi didn’t need any help from him while Messi was breaking through at Barcelona.
The 2005 Ballon d’Or winner arrived at Camp Nou in the summers of 2003 and was at the club when the now six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, a teenager then, began working his way into the Catalans’ first-team.
Ronaldinho was instrumental for the Argentine’s first senior goal as he claimed a delightful chipped assist, and went on to forge an effective partnership with Messi as the duo ran riots in opposition’s final third thus helping Barcelona become one of Europe’s best.
While seemingly helping Messi settle in Barcelona, the 2002 World Cup winner is adamant his influence wasn’t needed, as he believes his team-mate always destined to greatness.
“When I arrived at Barcelona, there was already talk of a kid [Messi] who stood out,” Ronaldinho told Panenka magazine.
“Then we were friends; we started playing together and we got on very well. He arrived being different to all the others, and we spoke with [Frank] Rijkaard so that he came to train with us – it was all very fast.
“I was lucky enough to give him the pass for his first goal.
“Over time, it’s very nice to see someone who starts out so close [to you] and then conquers the world.
“We were always very close. We learned things, he taught me Spanish and I taught him Portuguese, but with the ball, we understood each other perfectly.
“I’d be left amazed by how calm he is. That’s something I love about him; he never gets into trouble, he’s always with his family and those closest to him.
“Leo has everything, he didn’t need anything from me.”
Ronaldinho played at Barcelona for five seasons wherein he won two La Liga titles. The Brazilian rates his then club manager Frank Rijkaard as the best manager under whom he played for during his distinguished career.
“He’s a great coach, a very quiet guy, the best I’ve ever worked with,” Ronaldinho said of the Dutchman. “He knew everything because he played at the highest level, and that made things easy for us.
“Everything he asked us to do, he has already done it before, so he spoke to us in a very simple and direct way.
“He gave me a lot of freedom to play my football. When we didn’t have the ball, we also had to fulfill our obligations. But when we had it, he made me feel completely free.”