Ronaldinho helped me settle at Barca: Messi
Stating that Ronaldinho was responsible for a change in attitude at FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi said that the Brazilian made things easier for him at the club.
“He was a great help. It’s never easy to go into a changing room at the age of 16 especially with my character. Ronaldinho made everything much easier for me. I had the good luck to experience him at first hand and to share many things with him. I can say that he’s a really great person and that’s the most important thing”, Messi said in an interview on FC Barcelona’s official website, fcbarcelona.com.
Messi also said that the La Liga champions and it’s fans should be ever grateful to the Brazilian veteran for his massive contributions to the club.
“Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barça. It was a bad time and the change that came about with his arrival was amazing. In the first year, he didn’t win anything but people fell in love with him. Then the trophies started coming and he made all those people happy. Barça should always be grateful for everything he did”, he said.
Image: Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona's training session in August 2005
Photographs: Albert Gea/Reuters
'I'm very grateful to Rijkaard'
Messi also picked former Barca Frank Rijkaard for special praise.
“Sometimes I didn’t understand why I hadn’t been picked or why I wasn’t playing. Now I look at it coldly, I think that he treated me really well, without any hurry. I’m very grateful to Rijkaard because he knew what was best for me at every moment. That’s why I’ll always be grateful to him and all the coaching staff,” he said.
Messi also regrets not celebrating the 2006 Champions League win over Arsenal.
“I was recovering from injury and I didn’t make the final. I was very young and I didn’t want to celebrate it. Then Ronaldinho, Deco and Motta brought me the trophy so I could celebrate and that’s a really good memory. Now I regret not enjoying myself more on the pitch, though I did afterwards”, he added.
Image: Former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaar with Lionel Messi in November 2005
Photographs: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters