When Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup trophy in Qatar last year, congratulations poured in from all over the world. Not only soccer fans but also former and present soccer stars as well as other personalities lauded Messi’s incredible feat. Recently, Messi‘s ‘mentor’ in Barcelona, Ronaldinho, congratulated the Argentine talisman for his World Cup success.
Ronaldinho: “I’m happy for Messi after he won the World Cup, it was missing for him.” pic.twitter.com/mfcFwliay1
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 7, 2023
Ronaldinho was frequently seen in the stands during the World Cup 2022. Ronaldinho recently appeared at a gala in Barcelona. While talking to reporters of Mundo Deportivo, Ronaldinho spoke about Messi’s World Cup win. The Brazilian legend said, “Very happy for his (Messi) victory in the World Cup. It was missing for him.“
Ronaldinho continued, “The truth is that nobody imagined him outside of Barca, but things happen in football. Now he must continue.” Ronaldinho himself won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 when Brazil defeated Germany 2-0 in the final. Messi recently joined Ronaldinho in an elite list of players who have won the Champions League, World Cup, and the Ballon d’Or. The list features other stars like Kaka, Zidane, Franz Beckenbauer, and so on.
How long did Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho play together?
Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho share a special bond. When a young Lionel Messi was finding his footsteps in the Barcelona senior team, Ronaldinho was one of the best soccer players in the world. However, Ronaldinho took the young, shy Messi under his wing. Under Ronaldinho’s apprenticeship, Messi emerged as one of the best young soccer stars of that time.
Lionel Messi played and trained alongside Ronaldinho for four seasons from 2004 to 2008. Ronaldinho once famously introduced Messi to late basketball legend Kobe Bryant as the “guy who is going to be the greatest player of all time.”
Juan Carlos Unzué: “When Messi came into the first team, there were players like Ronaldinho, Deco and Rafa Márquez, who were excellent free-kick takers and stayed after training to practice. But Messi would sit on a ball, just watching them practise…” pic.twitter.com/u1y2Z3zFLU
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) January 24, 2023
Messi himself has frequently talked about the importance of Ronaldinho in Barcelona. Messi 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. In the first year, he didn’t win anything but people fell in love with him. Then the trophies started coming and he made all those people happy. Barca should always be grateful for everything he did.”
Ronaldinho was also the player who had assisted Messi’s first official goal for FC Barcelona in 2005. The celebration that followed has gone down in the history of soccer as one of the most iconic moments. After Messi scored the goal, he ran toward Ronaldinho to celebrate the goal, who then proceed to lift Messi on his back. Messi also went on to inherit Ronaldinho’s iconic number 10 jersey at Barcelona after a few years.