Football is all about competition. You compete against opposite teams, and you even compete against your teammates for a place on the team.
That’s exactly why having more than one super-star in a team isn’t always a good idea. It’s too much ego for the coach to handle and that’s when someone has to go.
But that wasn’t the case for Barcelona.
Ronaldinho was the key player when Messi was introduced to the first team. Everyone knew what Messi was capable of, including Ronaldinho. Which means he knew he was going to be replaced by Messi one day.
People are usually not friendly with those who’re about to take their job, but the Ronaldinho-Messi relationship was special.
Messi was and still is a humble person. He was a shy little kid who had to prove to the coach that he’s good enough to play for the best team in the world.
That’s a lot of pressure, even for Messi.
That’s why Ronaldinho decided to help the young Messi to settle in the squad first. He was always there for him. Ronaldinho was to Messi, what Messi is to Neymar now. An experienced player who’s willing to support young teammates who are destined to become number one in the world.
Messi on Ronaldinho
“Before leaving the club [Ronaldinho] was coming off a few months where he was thinking about things,” Messi said.
“He had it in his mind that he was leaving and he told me to have his number. I took it without looking at what he had done with the shirt. If I did, I would not have taken it.”
“Everyone welcomed me into the dressing room, and [Ronaldinho] welcomed me in a spectacular way,” he said.
“To go into that dressing room was not easy but he made it all so much easier. I was very comfortable by not only Ronnie’s welcoming but everyone. “
“Those who came up from the [Barca] B sat on the other side [to the main group]. The locker room did a ‘U’ and we sat in-front, and there came a moment that [Ronaldinho] told me to go to his side and that I no longer needed to be where I was anymore.”
“There was a spot free and there was Deco and [Thiago] Motta right there, and he sat me right beside them. I must admit at the start it was hard. “
“But he said no, that I was good where I was until I basically obliged to sit there.” – Source.
Ronaldinho on Messi
“I am not there to see. But I believe the attention and dedication I had for Messi, is the same thing Messi is doing for Neymar because it’s very important for a more experienced player to share things with younger players.”
“My fondest memory with him was his first-ever goal,” said Ronaldinho. “It’s nice to know that I provided the pass. It was a very special moment for me.” He added, “It’s really nice to see how he’s grown.”