Gerard Deulofeu, Messi’s former teammate at Barcelona, snubbed the Argentine while choosing his choice for the greatest player in football history in a 2020 interview. Spanish footballer Sergio Ramos, who currently plays for Udinese, said Brazilian legend Ronaldinho was the best player in the world.
Growing up in Catalonia, Gerard Delofeu watched Ronaldinho play at Camp Nou. Following his break into Barcelona’s senior team from the youth setup in 2014-15, he also had the privilege of sharing the pitch with Lionel Messi.
Gerard Deulofeu has hailed Ronaldinho as the greatest player of all-time, ahead of former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi 🐐 pic.twitter.com/y0zwthmSP4
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 15, 2020
During the GOAT debate, the Spaniard did not waste any time in backing the Brazilian magician.
“For me, Ronaldinho is the best player ever,” he said during an interview with Marca in 2020.
In addition, Delofeu recalled the experience of meeting the Selecao icon at Camp Nou when he went to watch Barcelona play, calling it a ‘wonderful experience’.
“I met him. I went to watch a game at the Camp Nou and he was sitting next to me. It was a wonderful experience,” Delofeu added.
Lionel Messi: "Ronaldinho was responsible for the change at Barcelona. It was a bad time, and the change that came about with his arrival was amazing.
"Barca should always be grateful for everything @10Ronaldinho did."
— GOAL (@goal) April 25, 2019
Ronaldinho is also highly regarded by Lionel Messi. As quoted by talkSPORT, the Argentine said the Brazilian’s influence at Barcelona was the following:
“Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barca. He came in at a bad time, and the change he brought was breathtaking. In the first year, he didn’t win anything, but people loved him anyway.”.
“The trophies started coming and he made all those people happy. Barca should always be grateful for everything he has done.”
Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi’s numbers with Barcelona
In the summer of 2003, the Brazilian joined the Catalan giants from Paris Saint-Germain for a reported fee of €30 million. During his time at the club, he scored 94 goals and provided 71 assists across all competitions before leaving for AC Milan in 2008.
Messi, meanwhile, began his career in the Blaugrana’s youth system before being promoted to the senior team in 2004-05. Before his summer move to Paris Saint-Germain, the Argentine made 778 appearances across all fronts for the club, scoring 672 goals and contributing 303 assists.