RONALDINHO has tried to debunk the myth that he had a bad influence on Lionel Messi and subsequently had to leave the Nou Camp, Express.co.uk reports.
Ronaldinho joined Barcelona at the start of Messi’s incredible career and left the club in 2008 after making 145 appearances and collecting five trophies, including the Champions League.
The Brazilian always appeared to enjoy his football while in Spain and seemed to play with a smile.
But he has revealed that Frank Rijkaard played a role in his decision to leave.
And he insists that AC Milan was the real reason for his departure as opposed to the notion that he tried to misguide Messi.
In an interview with FourFourTwo, Ronaldinho said, “It was easy – it was time to go.
“I wanted to follow in the footsteps of (Frank) Rijkaard, who was my coach and said great things about Milan.
“I had other options, but I wanted to play for Milan. As for that stuff about Messi, it’s not true; you shouldn’t always believe what you read.
“I always tried to be a good influence on him and actually try to do for him what Ronaldo did for me.
“I felt embraced by Ronaldo and I wanted Leo to have the same. Messi was always very shy, but always a fantastic player.
“We lived on the same street, so I had a great relationship with him and his family.
“Even then I knew he was a better player than me.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic says there’s no one like his club teammate Messi, nor will there be anyone approaching his level.
“This doesn’t exist, not in Mexico, not in Croatia. You have to say that. He’s not the best in the world for nothing — for me, the best in history,” Rakitic said after he was asked which Mexico player could be the most similar to Messi.”