Lionel Messi has paid an emotional tribute to Ronaldinho after his former Barcelona team-mate retired from football this week. ” 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.” Messi posted on Instagram.
David Beckham, who played with the Brazilian at Milan, also posted a heartwarming message on Instagram. He said: ‘Welcome to retirement my friend … Pleasure to play with you , against you and to see someone smile doing something they love.’
Fellow Brazilian Neymar wrote: ‘@ronaldinho which honours to be part of its history. I will always remember your joy on the field, you left a legacy that will hardly be beaten in football ART … Thank you for everything you did for FOOTBALL lovers.’
Ronaldo, who won the World Cup in 2002 with Ronaldinho as part of a terrorising front-three with Rivaldo as well, said: ‘Dividing the name, the nickname and so many historical moments with this genius was an honour. It ends now a victorious trajectory, perpetuating the trail of art and joy in our football. Thanks.’
Steven Gerrard wrote: ‘This fella was on a different planet to most. The best in the world when at his peak at Barcelona, enjoy your retirement.’