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Lionel Messi

'He's one of the greats' - Messi makes Van Bronckhorst XI alongside Ronaldinho & Bergkamp

00:41 GMT 18/02/2017
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The former Barcelona and Arsenal defender has selected a star-studded side made up of top talents he has worked with down the years

Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and Dennis Bergkamp form part of a star-studded collection of former team-mates Giovanni van Bronckhorst considers to be the best he played with.

The Dutchman, who is now in charge of Feyenoord, enjoyed a glittering career that took him to some of the world’s biggest clubs.

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Spells at the likes of Arsenal and Barcelona saw him share a dressing room with global superstars of the modern era, with many of them leaving a lasting impression.

Unsurprisingly, given the success he enjoyed at Camp Nou and the calibre of the company he kept in Catalonia, Van Bronckhorst has picked out a number of Barca stars as the pick of his colleagues.

On Messi, who was an emerging talent at the time, the ex-Netherlands international told Sky Sports’ Fantasy Football Club: “He was a young player coming into the Barcelona team and I thought to myself, 'I've never seen this'. It was so special to see such a talent at such a young age.

“He's one of the greats and he will play for me on the right. When he came into the first team, he would make fun of everyone with his football. He could do anything. One of the best players that has ever played the game.”

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Van Bronckhorst was also fortunate enough to play alongside Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, with the pair linking up on the left flank for Barca.

He added of the two-time World Player of the Year: “It was amazing to play with him and the dynamic we had on the left side was one of the best I felt.”

Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol also made the cut, along with Arsenal team-mates Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieria.

On his iconic fellow Dutchman, he said: “He is a legend, not only for Dutch football but also as one of the biggest stars that played in the Premier League.

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“When I came to Arsenal he really helped me to get settled in London. His skills were amazing, and he was the same as Messi and Ronaldinho in that you never knew what Dennis was going to do.”

Edwin van der Sar, Ronald Koeman and Jaap Stam completed Van Bronckhorst’s XI, with a role found for himself at left-back.