‘I wish I could have spent a couple more years with him’: Lionel Messi speaks about Ronaldinho’s departure from Barcelona

Lionel Messi might have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest in football. Still, when he was a budding footballer at Barcelona, it was under the tutelage of the Brazilian great Ronaldinho that the Argentine harnessed his skills.

Ronaldinho acted as a godfather to Messi, and their close relationship was revealed in The Happiest Man in the World, a FIFA+ documentary about the flamboyant Brazilian star.

The pair won two Spanish La Liga titles and the 2006 Champions League together.

But Messi revealed his wish that his mentor could have stayed alongside him a little longer.

“What happened was ugly. He didn’t deserve that after everything he did for the club? Changing Barcelona’s history. The way he left was very strange,” said Messi of Ronaldinho’s departure.

“I wish I could have spent a couple more years with him,” he added.

Ronaldinho’s emotional message to Lionel Messi

Last month, it was Brazilian great Ronaldinho who had also penned a heartfelt note to his younger self and it has an emotional message for Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.

Post his retirement from football in 2018, Ronaldinho collaborated with ‘The Player Tribune’ to create a beautiful piece which aptly starts with: “Dear eight-year-old Ronaldinho…”

‘At Barcelona, you’ll hear about this kid on the youth team. He wears number 10 like you. He’s small like you. He plays with the ball like you. You and your teammates will go watch him play for Barcelona’s youth squad, and at that moment you’ll know he’s going to be more than a great footballer. That kid is different. His name is Leo Messi.’

Ronaldinho adds that once he arrives with the senior squad ‘the Barcelona players will be talking about him like the Brazilian players were talking about you.’

He asks his younger self to deliver a single piece of advice to a youthful Lionel Messi, he writes: “Play with happiness. Play free. Just play with the ball.”

Ronaldinho is a true Messi fan, and he even expressed his ‘extreme happiness’ after the great player won the World Cup in Qatar, solidifying his place as the ‘GOAT.’

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