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FC Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has spoken on close friend Lionel Messi’s shock exit from the club and a number of other topics related to the Blaugrana.

The 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil conceded an interview to Mundo Deportivo published on Sunday morning in Catalonia, and first off confessed that Messi’s switch of allegiances to Paris Saint Germain, where Ronaldinho started his European career before joining Barca, was a “surprise”.

“Not only for me, but for everyone,” Ronaldinho continued. “I had never imagined seeing him in another shirt but these are things that happen and for me the important thing is that if he is happy, it doesn’t matter where he is. For me that is what matters.”

Ronaldinho revealed he had spoken to Messi about his departure from their shared former club when the two met in the French capital.

“But such is life, there are surprises, things that happen, and as I said before the most important thing is to see him happy,” Ronaldinho said.

As for his compatriot, Messi’s PSG teammate, and another former Barca star who fled to France after the Qatari-backed giants paid his world record release clause in 2017, Ronaldinho called Neymar a “phenomenon, a star, [and] the biggest idol in our country”.

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“There is not much to say. If I start talking good things about him I’m going to do it for a long time,” Ronaldinho pointed out.

In the post-Messi era, teenage sensation Ansu Fati has taken the Argentine’s iconic number ’10’ shirt and Ronaldinho tips him for big things.

“He has already started very well, he started making history and I hope that he can also continue [to do so] and do something very nice. He has quality and now it’s just [about] giving time to time,” Ronaldinho stressed.

Linked to Barca as a possible acquisition in the summer transfer window is Raphinha at Leeds United, who Ronaldinho happens to know well.

“Raphinha is also from Porto Alegre, my city, and we are from the same neighborhood,” Ronaldinho explained. “I am very close friends with his father and have known him since I was a child. By chance, today he works with Deco and things are going very well for him. He is a very talented young man.”

Of Deco, with whom Ronaldinho won the Champions League in 2006 and managed to resurrect the Catalans in the mid-00s, Ronaldo described the Brazil-born ex-Portugal international as his “brother” and someone he is “very happy for” as he enters the world of player representation, “because outside of football he was always an incredible man, very intelligent and now he is following other paths and doing very well”.

Source: Forbes

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