Is Messi better than Ronaldinho
Despite Messi and Ronaldo: Ronaldinho was more talented
Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Who is the even better footballer? Whatever the answer, the question alone shaped an entire generation. In the past few years, when it came to who is the best in the world, one of the two names almost always came up.
This question was asked to Deco in the summer of 2016. The former director of FC Barcelona disagreed with this and criticized: "Ronaldinho was much more talented than Leo or Cristiano. He was a natural with special abilities. Whenever we passed the ball to him - movements and goals from another world followed. "
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To be honest, it's difficult to disagree. After Ronaldo changed the perception of what a number 9 can do on the pitch, Ronaldinho stepped in and changed the perception of what footballers in general can be capable of. He brought the cleverest tricks from futsal to the big field, skills that no one had seen before.
Kevin-Prince Boateng continues to tell remarkable stories of how Ronaldinho hit the crossbar three times in a row during his time at AC Milan. Simply because he could. "The rest of us wondered how it could be possible that so much talent was dormant in his body," he said.
Roberto Carlos: "It wasn't just about his tricks"
Meanwhile, Eidur Gudjohnsen was even convinced that Ronaldinho could defy the laws of physics. "If you play with him and see what he does with the ball, nothing surprises you afterwards. At some point he will make the ball speak," said the Icelander once. Roberto Carlos added: "It wasn't just about his tricks: he created and scored goals that matched his exceptional skills."
There was, for example, his legendary goal from a standing start in the away game at Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 2005 - one of the most adorable and confusing goals of all. This gate is just one example, in truth there has been untold evidence of its inexplicable abilities. A whole generation has watched FC Barcelona games just to see what Ronaldinho will do this time around.
Due to an appointment dispute in the run-up to an international break, his debut against Sevilla FC on September 3, 2003 only kicked off five minutes after midnight. Even so, over 80,000 supporters flocked to Camp Nou to see their new Brazilian superstar - and not a single one later regretted their decision.
Around 1.30 a.m., Ronaldinho took the ball in his own half, overran two opponents and slammed the leather from 30 meters over the crossbar into the goal. The game was ultimately a draw for Barca, but Ronaldinho had brought hopes of great success back to Barcelona. David Beckham once said: "There was a time during Ronaldinho's period at FC Barcelona when he was unplayable by his opponents." Between 2004 and 2006 it was when Barca became champions twice in a row and won the Champions League.
Standing ovations at the arch-rival
These two years were the highlight of Ronaldinho's career, he was highly motivated and just played magically. Due to his constancy and his ingenuity he reached a level on which only Alfredo Di Stefano, Diego Maradona and Messi had moved before and after. Ronaldinho took their breath away from football fans all over the world on a weekly basis, always with that lovable grin on his face. "He conveys a lot of joy and great pleasure in playing. And he had such high individual skills that everyone in the world loved him," said Frank Rijkaard.
Even Real Madrid fans rose from their seats at the Santiago Bernabeu in November 2005 and applauded the magician of their greatest rival. "I will never forget that because it is very rare to be applauded in such a way by the opposing fans," said Ronaldinho afterwards. The only other Barca professional to have received a standing ovation at the Bernabeu was Maradona. Even Messi is still waiting for scenes like this today. Ronaldinho, however, transgressed supposedly set in stone laws. He managed to be noticed regardless of his club membership. Ronaldinho was never driven to be the best. He just wanted to have fun and enjoy. His demeanor and behavior made it very clear: Ronaldinho not only enjoyed football, he enjoyed life in general. And he wanted others to enjoy it too.
When Barca traveled to Los Angeles for a promotional tour in the summer of 2006, then NBA star Kobe Bryant stopped by the training ground and watched a session. "Ronaldinho was a good friend of mine. And while I was talking to him, he said to me, 'Kobe, look, I'm going to introduce you to a buddy who will soon be the greatest player of all time.' I said, 'I beg your pardon, you're the greatest.' Ronaldinho replied, 'No, no. This kid here is going to be the best.' "The kid was 17 at the time. It was called Lionel Messi.
"Would have loved to play longer with Messi"
Ronaldinho was humble and humorous. Quite a few said he didn't take the game as seriously as he should have, which all the more underlines how great it actually was. Ronaldinho won the World Cup, the Copa America, the Copa Libertadores and the premier class.
Regardless, Ronaldinho has often been asked what he regrets in retrospect after retiring from his career. "I would have loved to have played longer with Messi. He's such a great player and I'm very happy that I gave him his first goal early in his career," he countered. "It would have been really nice to play with him more, but my time at Barca was over then. It was a point where I had to go and set new goals."
Now Ronaldinho is leaving for good, now he is saying goodbye to the big stage of world football, which he has significantly shaped with his smile and his skills. Sure, he could have achieved more, won more titles. But Ronaldinho is happy. "I achieved everything I wanted to achieve. And I am infinitely grateful for that."
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