The retired former Brazilian star was one of world football’s top figures when Messi made his Barcelona debut at 16-year-old.
During his time at Barcelona Ronaldinho won the Ballon d’Or before he was replaced as the golden boy at the Nou Camp.
Messi has since gone on to win the same award on six occasions – more than any other player.
But Ronaldinho disagrees labelling his former teammate the greatest footballer of all time.
“I can’t say that Messi is the best ever, but he is the best in his time,” Ronaldinho told EFE (via Goal ).
“I don’t like comparisons because it’s hard to identify who the best in history is, there’s Diego Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo.”
Speaking about the award, Messi said: “It is special and different; each one has something special and this one is for the moment in which I find myself on a personal and football level. But each one has its own little things.
“I am in the moment of trying to improve myself, of wanting to learn every day, of taking care of myself and of resting, of enjoying the activities I do … all that makes me very grateful to be able to continue dedicating myself to football.”
Ronaldinho won the UEFA Champions League in 2006 with following a 2-1 win against Arsenal in Paris.
He was a member of the Brazilian side that won the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, scoring one of the goals of the tournament in the 2-1 quarter-final win against England.
Other achievements Ronaldinho had was winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1997 hosted in Egypt.
He also captained Brazil to win the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup where they thrashed bitter rivals Argentina 4-1 in the final.
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