- Ronaldinho claimed that Lionel Messi was not the greatest footballer of all time
- The Brazilian said the Argentine can only be regarded as the best of his era
- Messi recently won his sixth Ballon d'Or award
Former Barcelona superstar Ronaldinho has sensationally retracted his earlier statement on Lionel Messi after claiming the Argentine is not necessarily the best player ever.
Ronaldinho, now 39, played alongside Messi in Barcelona and was integral in his development early in his career.
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Notably, Ronaldinho, popularly known as Gaucho, provided Messi with his very first goal for Barcelona back in 2004.
In earlier interviews, the Brazilian reiterated the Argentine was a magical player and probably the best the game has ever seen.
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However, according to Spanish newspaper Diario AS, the Ronaldinho, who is himself regarded by sections as one of the most skilled players in football, toned down his praise for Messi.
He said his compatriot was great, but added there were other football players before the Argentine’s time who do not necessarily get the recognition they deserve.
Two classic examples cited by Ronaldinho were Maradona and Pelle.
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"I don't like comparisons because it's hard to identify who is the best in history, there's Diego Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo, I can't say that Messi is the best ever, he is the best in his time,” he said.
Messi only recently went a level higher after clinching his sixth Ballon d'Or earlier this month.
The 32-year old also has very fond memories of the times with Ronaldinho when the two played together at the Nou Camp.
"I came into the dressing room at 16-17 years of age, seeing all those footballing giants made it tough,” Messi was quoted speaking of Ronaldinho in the past interview.
In La Liga, he has been in scintillating form as his recent hat trick against Mallorca ensured he rose above Ronaldo to become the player with the most hat tricks in La Liga history
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