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- Updated: May 2, 2017
Barcelona’s iconic former midfielder Ronaldinho, who recently made the news for producing a no-look assist during a charity match for the Barcelona Legends, spoke about his first impression of Lionel Messi when he saw him as a teenager and how he helped the Argentine settle at the club.
The 37-year-old, who now works as an ambassador for the Catalan giants, in an interview with FourFourTwo, recalled Messi’s first training sessions with the senior team.
“Everyone saw he was fantastic from the very first day,” the 2002 FIFA World Cup winner said.
For all Messi fans, it is tough to forget that it was Ronaldinho who famously assisted the youngster’s first senior goal for Barcelona.
But what few people know is how much Ronaldinho helped a shy boy settle in at the club. The Brazilian said that while Messi’s talent was undisputed, he knew that he would have to take some special steps to make him feel at home in the midst of such big and influential personalities.
“I wanted to do with him what others had done with me: I wanted to help him in that first-team moment, because the talent was already obvious,” he added.
“When I started at Gremio, I had experienced players helping me – my friends Beto and Guilherme.
“At Barca it was Carles Puyol, my big brother, my eternal captain who is always with me at charity events. I wanted to give back.”
Although the duo played together for 4 years, Ronaldinho eventually left the club in 2008, when Pep Guardiola took over.
Messi’s achievements after that were astronomical, as not only did he go on to establish himself as one of the most prolific players ever, but also helped the club lift 29 trophies over the course of his career.
You can argue that he’s not done adding to that tally just yet.