Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has sent a message of suport to former team-mate Ronaldinho after the Brazilian’s mother passed away at the weekend.
Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santo, Ronaldinho’s mother, died in Brazil at the age of 71 following complications arising from Covid-19, according to Diario AS.
Messi took to Instagram to offer his condolences to the Barcelona great at such a difficult time.
The two stars played together for over three years at Barcelona and enjoyed a prolific partnership together. Messi inherited the famous No. 10 shirt from the brilliant Brazilian after he departed the Camp Nou at the end of the 2007-08 season.
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Messi & Ronaldinho ‘Were Always Very Close’
It’s no secret that Messi and Ronaldinho enjoyed a close relationship during their time together at Barcelona. The Brazilian was the star man at the Camp Nou when Messi broke into the team as a teenager and helped nurture the young Argentine.
Ronaldinho opened up on his relationship with Messi in an interview with Panenka magazine in 2020 when he explained how the two players learnt from each other, as reported by Marca.
When I arrived at Barcelona, there was already talk of a kid who stood out. Then we were friends; we started playing together and got on very well. He arrived being different to all the others, and we spoke with Rijkaard so that he came to train with us – it was all very fast.
I was lucky enough to give him the pass for his first goal. Over time, it’s very nice to see someone who starts out so close to you and then conquers the world. We were always very close. We learned things, he taught me Spanish and I taught him Portuguese, but with the ball we understood each other perfectly.
I’d be left amazed by how calm he is. That’s something I love about him; he never gets into trouble, he’s always with his family and those closest to him. Leo has everything, he didn’t need anything from me.
Messi has also spoken out about how Ronaldinho helped him settle into life at the Camp Nou as a youngster. He told Tyc Sports that he wished he had been able to play with Ronaldinho for longer, as reported by Eurosport.
He mentored me and made me feel comfortable, and I loosened up. Afterwards on the pitch, I always looked for him but we didn’t have many years to enjoy together. Besides, we didn’t play as much at that time. I would have liked to play more with Ronaldinho.
Ronaldinho was the catalyst for a period of sustained success for Barcelona after he joined the club in 2003 from French side Paris Saint-Germain. The forward won two La Liga titles and the Champions League before leaving for AC Milan.
Barca continued to enjoy plenty of success after Ronaldinho left with Messi now the star of the team. The 33-year-old has won 26 titles with the Catalan giants and continues to set records with the club.
Sunday’s draw with Cadiz saw Messi overtake Xavi and make his 506th La Liga appearance for the Catalans, more than any other player in history. The captain was also on target with a goal that means he’s now scored against 38 different teams in La Liga.