Before Lionel Messi's meteorical rise at the Nou Camp, Ronaldinho was the superstar that got supporter's off their seats with his sublime skills and wonderful goals. The talented Brazilian was seen as the catalyst for Barcelona's revival in world club football, but it has now been confirmed that he made the decision to officially retire from the professional game.
Reported by Give Me Sport, Ronaldinho entertained and inspired many football enthusiasts, the attacking midfielder has finally called time on one of the finest careers modern football has ever seen. Terrifyingly, Ronaldinho and Messi played together at Blaugrana for four seasons and it led to the Brazilian being awarded the Ballon d'Or during that time.
He appreciated what the diminutive Argentine would bring to teams even during his informative years and said: “Leo Messi reminds me more of Maradona, both left-footed and short, Messi is the best player in the world, along with Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.
"For us it is not a surprise. Since he began to come and train with us and we knew we would go down this path. Someday I will explain that I was at the birth of one of the footballing greats: Leo Messi."
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Messi could not fail to hide his admiration and appreciation for his former team mate when the news was officially announced and posted his own heartfelt message on his Instagram account in recognition of Ronaldinho's decision to finally hang up his boots.
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Como siempre dije, aprendí mucho a tu lado. Siempre te estaré agradecido por lo fácil que me hiciste todo cuando llegué al vestuario. Tuve la suerte compartir muchas cosas con vos y me alegro muchísimo porque, además de un fenómeno con la pelota, sos una grandísima persona y eso es lo más importante. Aunque decidas irte, el fútbol no se olvidará de tu sonrisa jamás. Todo lo mejor, Ronnie.
Messi's message read: "As I always said, I learned a lot by your side. I will always be grateful to you for how easy it was that you did everything to me when I got to the dressing room.
"I was lucky to share many things with you and I am very happy because, in addition to a phenomenon with the ball, you are a very great person and that is the most important thing.
"Even if you decide to leave, football will never forget your smile. All the best, Ronnie."
Although it is the end with regards to playing professional football, Ronaldinho's brother and agent Roberto Assis confirmed that his sibling will take part in a number of tribute events across the world to maintain his profile. Assis said: "He has stopped, it is ended,
"We will do various events in Brazil, Europe and Asia and, of course, we are arranging something with the Brazilian team as well."
Ronaldinho's retirement will be a loss to world football, but the memories of his magical skills, electrifying bursts of pace, wonderful goals and achievements for his various clubs and his appetite to represent his country will long be remembered.