Legends Pay Classy Tributes To Retired Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho was the kind of footballer you couldn't not love because he both played with a smile on his face and brought a smile to ours. And in Iker Casillas that was even the case when he was tormenting you.
The day was always going to come when Ronaldinho finally officially retired from the game although in fairness he's been semi-retired for the last couple of years, never actually having a team to call his own for very long.
Finally on Tuesday night, aged 37, the Brazilian confirmed that he was calling it a day, having won two La Ligas, a Champions League, Serie A title, World Cup and twice been FIFA's World Player of the Year:
During his career the former PSG forward wowed everyone who had the pleasure of watching him, perhaps most notably when he destroyed Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and left the home supporters with no choice but to give him a standing ovation.
Remember these legendary El Clasicos?
You'd have thought the man who he inflicted most pain on that night, keeper Iker Casillas, would be glad his old foe had retired but the Spaniard sent a wonderfully classy message saying, "I was forced to suffer at your hands but as a football lover, I also enjoyed watching you."
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But it wasn't just a former rival who paid a brilliant tribute to him but also the 'kid' he mentored at the Camp Nou, Lionel Messi.
The Argentine came through the ranks at Barca and made his debut when Ronaldinho was still the main man in the team before Pep Guardiola let him go to AC Milan, fearing his partying ways could affect the younger man.
Sure Messi's good but he's no Emile Heskey:
Clearly though Messi never forgot the impact the Brazilian had on his career saying, "As I always said, I learned a lot by your side. I will always be grateful to you for how easy it was that you did everything to me when I got to the dressing room.
"I was lucky to share many things with you and I am very happy because, in addition to a phenomenon with the ball, you are a very great person and that is the most important thing. Even if you decide to leave, football will never forget your smile. All the best, Ronnie."
Such a legend he had love from both sides of the Clasico!
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