Former Barcelona player Aleksandr Hleb claimed that the Spanish club sold Ronaldinho and Deco in order to protect Lionel Messi.
According to Hleb, the duo were sold in 2008 after turning up to training drunk. Barcelona were afraid that they would lead Messi, in his early twenties at the time, astray.
“Ronaldinho and Deco came to training drunk,” Hleb has told V OKA TV, per Goal.
“That’s why Ronaldinho and Deco were sold in 2008. Because they were afraid that they would bring down Lionel Messi.”
It’s widely known that Ronaldinho enjoyed to party during his career. Many believe that it brought about his decline earlier than expected.
The Brazilian’s career rather petered out, with him playing spending the final years of his playing days in his homeland.
It started in 2011 when he joined Flamengo from AC Milan. And, such was Ronaldinho’s desire to party, it’s alleged that he demanded a clause in his contract that would allow him to do just that.
Ronaldinho’s ‘nightclub clause’
The 2002 World Cup winner insisted on a clause that would allow him to go clubbing at least two nights a week. Flamengo agreed to his request.
Similar stories tell how Ronaldinho enjoyed to party while he played for Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, too.
“Ronaldinho didn’t train any day of the week and would just turn up on a Friday for the game on Saturday,” Jerome Loy, Ronaldinho’s teammate at PSG, said in 2016, per the Mirror.
“I think he was trying to follow in the steps of Romário, who would also go out every night, but he didn’t have the same success.”
And Paolo, an AC Milan season ticket holder, explained to Bleacher Report how the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner would party win, lose or draw.
“Win, lose, play well, play badly — Ronaldinho didn’t care. He would still find a party and enjoy himself long into the night,” Paolo said.
“We loved him at Milan, but he hurt himself and his career, never worried who saw him.”
Regardless, there’s no doubting that everyone has their favourite Ronaldinho memory. He was a joy to watch.