- Albiceleste prevailed at Qatar 2022
- All-time great lands missing medal
- Able to play with freedom now
WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner finally got his hands on the trophy he coveted most at Qatar 2022, with Messi inspiring his country to a first global crown since the days of Diego Maradona in 1986. Ex-Brazil international Ronaldinho was delighted to see a fellow all-time great get his hands on a prestigious prize – as he did in 2002 – and hopes that the 35-year-old can now play with freedom over the remainder of his career, which currently sees him starring for Paris Saint-Germain in France.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ronaldinho, who acted as a mentor to Messi when the Argentine broke through at Camp Nou, has told reporters at a Mundo Deportivo event: “Very happy for his victory in the World Cup. He was missing that. The truth is that nobody imagined him outside of Barca, but things happen in football. Now he must continue.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The emergence of Messi allowed Barcelona to part with Ronaldinho in 2008, but the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year continues to keep a close eye on events in Catalunya. He has seen fellow countryman Raphinha join the ranks at Camp Nou this season and is backing the tricky winger to thrive after coming through a slow start to his spell in La Liga. Ronaldinho added: “He is a great player. I know him well, since he was little. I am sure that things will turn out well for him at Barça from now on.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT? Barcelona sit top of the Liga table in 2022-23, as they seek to wrestle a domestic crown back from Clasico rivals Real Madrid, while Messi is in the process of mulling over a contract extension offer at Paris Saint-Germain.