Ronaldinho was a good example for Messi, says Ten Cate

The Dutch coach has voiced his opinion that the Argentine learned a lot from his former team-mate, and fears that the attacker could suffer physical problems this year
Former Barcelona assistant coach Henk ten Cate believes that Ronaldinho was a good example for Lionel Messi in the early stages of his career, despite his antics off the pitch.

The Brazilian forward received his fair share of criticism for his behaviour toward the end of his Camp Nou career, but the Dutchman feels he taught the 25-year-old what to do on the field of play, and how not to act off it.

"Ronaldinho was a good example for Messi for what to do and what not to do," he was quoted as saying by Voetbal International.

"The Brazilians, like Ronaldinho and Deco, welcomed him with open arms when he became part of the first team."

Ten Cate then went on to say that he thinks Messi will play less in 2013 than he played last year as he must look to avoid injury.

"I expect him to play fewer games this year. Just look at the scandalous tackles he has to deal with game after game. It's outrageous," he added.

"Messi is incredibly quick, so he manages to evade a lot of tackles. There is a bigger risk when you start getting tired, though. The knee injury he picked up against Benfica was a warning. He will have to be cautious."

Ten Cate was assistant to Frank Rijkaard at Barca.