Ronaldinho Says Lionel Messi 'Didn't Need Anything from Me' at Barcelona

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2020

Barcelona's Argentinian Messi (L) is congratulated by his teammate Brazilian Ronaldinho (R) after scoring during the Liga football match Barcelona vs Athletico Madrid at the New Camp in Barcelona , 07 october 2007.  AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIPPE DESMAZES/Getty Images

Ronaldinho has opened up on his friendship with Lionel Messi during their time together at Barcelona.

The Brazilian spent five years at the Camp Nou between 2003 and 2008. 

Ronaldinho told Panenka magazine (h/t Marca) that upon his arrival at the club from Paris Saint-Germain, "there was already talk of a kid who stood out."

That player was Messi, who was making his way through the ranks at Barca's academy, La Masia.

The 2005 Ballon d'Or winner said the pair quickly became friends and "got on very well." After he and Barca's other players spoke to then-manager Frank Rijkaard about the Argentinian, Messi was soon promoted to training with the first team.

Messi made his debut for Barcelona in October 2004, shortly before Ronaldinho did this in the UEFA Champions League against AC Milan, with Messi watching on from the bench:

Ronaldinho's usual position on the left wing meant Messi was moved to the right flank, which has become the defining position of his career.

The youngster bagged his first goal for the club the following May, which Ronaldinho said he was "lucky enough" to have assisted:

"Over time, it's very nice to see someone who starts out so close [to you] and then conquers the world," he added.

The pair were close on and off the pitch:

"I'd be left amazed by how calm he is," Ronaldinho added. "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."

During the Brazilian's time at the club, Barca won two La Liga titles, the UEFA Champions League and two Spanish Super Cups.

He moved to Milan in 2008, shortly after Pep Guardiola took over as manager, and Messi became the focal point of the team following his departure.

Messi was among many who paid tribute to Ronaldinho when he retired from the game in 2018:

The 32-year-old has 10 La Liga titles to his name, four UEFA Champions Leagues and six Copas del Rey, among other honours.

In 707 games for the Catalan club, he boasts an astonishing record of 619 goals and 253 assists.

Related

    Internal Barca Transfer Doc Leaked 👀

    Jan 2020 guideline calls for older midfielders, like Pjanic, who pass the ball better and adapt quicker than younger players

    FC Barcelona logo
    FC Barcelona

    Internal Barca Transfer Doc Leaked 👀

    AS.com
    via AS.com

    Is Sancho Heir to Messi?

    Jadon's rise from Man City obscurity to world star

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Is Sancho Heir to Messi?

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

    Pogba, Rashford ‘Looking Good’

    Solskjaer: ‘When we get started, it looks like we can have a full squad to choose from’

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Pogba, Rashford ‘Looking Good’

    via men

    Barca Training with June 14, Mallorca Clash in Mind

    FC Barcelona logo
    FC Barcelona

    Barca Training with June 14, Mallorca Clash in Mind

    Jordi Gil
    via sport