Before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo emerged on the scene, Ronaldinho was the king of football.
His flamboyance endeared him to millions around the world, but the Brazilian was more than just a show pony; his Ballon d’Or win in 2005 says as much.
There’s no wonder Kevin-Prince Boateng recently put Ronaldinho above the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona in his recent assessment of the former Barcelona star.
"At [AC] Milan he was no longer the Ronaldinho from his heyday, but when he wanted to, he showed what he could do with the ball and it was so impressive," Boateng told Fox Sports, per Marca.
"In those moments you realised he was the best player in the world, beyond Zidane, Pele, or Maradona.
"When he wasn't out the night before and had rested well, he came to training and told the players who he'd nutmeg that day, and he always did it.
"He could hit the crossbar however many times he wanted and juggled the ball like you couldn't imagine, it was impossible to find a player with such talent."
It’s five years now since Ronaldinho left Milan to begin his steady descent from football’s elite. But his highlight reel remains impressive.
As a true legend of the game, it’s always interesting to hear what the 36-year-old has to say about the current generation of talents.
And especially his tip for the Ballon d’Or.
Ballon d'Or tip
Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to collect the award after he helped Real Madrid win the Champions League and Portugal win the European Championship.
But Ronaldinho didn’t name Ronaldo. In fact, you can probably guess who he’s backing.
"All the players have done a brilliant job, it is tough to choose," he told AS, per Goal.
"Ok, I will be honest with you, I am backing Messi!
"I am delighted to see him happy, if he made the decision to come back to Argentina and he is happy so am I, because I am his friend."
Is anyone surprised?
Who deserves to win the Ballon d'Or? Let us know in the comments section below!
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