Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho..

When Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho played against each other for the first time

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Barcelona have never exactly struggled for world-class players.

The list is endless: Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Michael Laudrup, Ronaldo, Ronald Koeman, Rivaldo and Xavi to name just a few. 

There's just nobody quite like Lionel Messi, though.

The Argentine rose through the ranks at La Masia to now boast a claim at being the greatest player to grace the game. He has amassed 594 appearances across 14-years in the Barcelona first-team and no less than 521 goals.

And while the majority of his success can be owed to his talent and footballing education, you'd be foolish to ignore the role of Ronaldinho.

The Brazilian was the MVP at Barcelona when Messi began rising through the ranks, winning the Ballon d'Or as well as two FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Ronaldinho was aware of the youngster's potential and talent from the very start, nurturing him into the limelight at the Nou Camp and eventually being succeeded by him.

The pair were an absolute joy to watch on the pitch together in a Barça side that harvested trophies for fun under the management of Frank Rijkaard.

FC Barcelona?s Brazilian Ronaldo de Assi

However, it wasn't until 2010 that Ronaldinho and Messi actually faced in a competitive match, not including the 2008 Olympics over which numerous age rules are applied.

It was a unique opportunity to see the best player in the world of old, face-off against the man who had settled in his throne. Furthermore, Brazil versus Argentina just happens to be an entertaining fixture regardless of the players. 

On this particular occasion, there was only one winner.

Check out the video below:

Both stars played rather well, there's no denying it, but Messi was on a different planet.

Ronaldinho was pulling the strings in the Brazilian midfield having freshly experienced a renaissance at AC Milan and came close with a remarkable back-heel attempt. Some of his touches and diagonal passes were disgustingly perfect.

Messi took on the then world number ones like a man possessed, however, with incredible mazy run after incredible mazy run. 

The Barcelona man came close to scoring a spectacular long-range effort in the first-half but was denied by the angle of the woodwork.

Argentina's striker Lionel Messi (L) is

That wasn't the case in injury time when Messi played a sumptuous one-two on the half-way line before ghosting past each defender that dared close him down, before providing the finish.

Ronaldinho could just sit back and watch with the goal handing Argentina a 1-0 win.

It seems that by 2010, for all of Ronaldinho's talent, the student had well and truly become the master.

Who would you rather have in your team - Lionel Messi or Ronaldinho? Have your say in the comments section below.

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