Barcelona Sold "Drunk" Ronaldinho And Deco To Protect Lionel Messi
Alexander Hleb has claimed Barcelona sold Ronaldinho and Deco to protect Lionel Messi because the pair would turn up to training drunk.
Ronaldinho and Deco weren't only big names but world class performers at Barcelona. The Brazilian famously set up Messi's first goal for the club back in 2005.
Felicidades Leo! Te deseo todo de mejor, salud, felicidad y éxito! Espero verte pronto hermano. pic.twitter.com/KwIPMQoYBx
- Ronaldinho Gaúcho (@10Ronaldinho) June 24, 2019
However, the pair of experienced midfielders were shown the door in 2008 when Pep Guardiola took charge.
He freshened things up with Hleb revealing that Ronaldinho and Deco were both sold to protect a then-young Messi.
"Ronaldinho and Deco came to training drunk," the former Arsenal attacking midfielder said.
"That's why Ronaldinho and Deco were sold in 2008. Because they were afraid that they would bring down Lionel Messi."
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Hleb left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2008, though he wanted to go to Bayern Munich or stay in North London. He ended up moving to Spain because of Guardiola.
"Frankly, I initially did not want to go to Barcelona at all," he added. "I wanted to go to Bayern Munich or stay at Arsenal. But the agents were telling me to go as it was Guardiola who was calling.
"When I moved to Barca, I lived with Thierry Henry for a while. He said to me: 'Stay until you find something. What is in the hotel? It's boring'. And so I spent a month with him.
"He always said to me: 'Why did you go to Barca?! Well, call me, I would explain everything!'"
Hleb's transfer to Barcelona didn't work out. He spent just one season at the Camp Nou before being loaned out to Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg.
He eventually secured a permanent transfer away from Barcelona in 2011 by moving to Russia with Krylia Sovetov.
The 38-year-old was released from BATE Borisov this month.