Ronaldinho was instrumental in Barcelona’s success between 2004 and 2006, when the Catalans won two Liga titles, two Spanish Supercups, and the Champions League.
Ronaldinho performed for the Spanish side under the No. 10 shirt, at the time when Lionel Messi was still escalating the success walls of the club.
The pair was said to be very close, with the Brazilian giving guidance to the Argentinian in training. Messi, who had formerly carried the No. 30 and No. 19 jerseys at Barca, eventually inherited the No. 10 shirt after Ronaldinho’s move to AC Milan in 2008, during the Catalans’ transition to the Pep Guardiola era.
For the famous left-footed playmaker, playing with that number on his back means a lot – especially when he thinks about all the great Barcelona legends who had it before him.
During an advert for Swiss watches manufacturer Audemars Piguet, Messi stated that he happily welcomed his responsibilities that came along the No. 10 shirt.
“When they gave me the No.10 jersey, I was very proud and happy to wear it. It's the shirt that has been worn by some impressive players at the club,” the prolific striker said.
Messi went on to praise Ronaldinho’s contribution at Barca, and stressed that he was comfortable playing with his old number.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has indeed been on fire since he was assigned his new shirt, having scored a record 184 goals in La Liga only since then.
He is currently the club’s second all-time top goalscorer in all competitions, with 313 goals. That is, 56 goals behind legend Paulino Alcantara, whose feat is justified by counting friendly games as well.
In October 2012, Messi revealed that Ronaldinho was the inspiration behind his refining free-kick technique, which did not go unnoticed this season.
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