Brazil legend Ronaldinho refused to name Lionel Messi the ‘GOAT of football’ as he picked three players who could all lay claim to that status.
Messi, 33, broke his Ballon d’Or deadlock with fierce rival Cristiano Ronaldo last December as he scooped his sixth award.
Ronaldinho, who played alongside Messi at Barcelona, congratulated the Argentine superstar on winning France Football’s coveted prize for an unprecedented sixth time.
However, the World Cup winner insisted that he would find it “difficult to say [Messi] is the best of all time.”
Ronaldinho told Spanish newspaper Marca: “I’m glad Messi won the Ballon d’Or. We were also friends during our time at Barcelona.
“But I don’t like to compare, and I find it difficult to say he is the best of all time.”
The former Barcelona and AC Milan star went on to say that the likes of Diego Maradona, Pele and Ronaldo could all be considered as better players than Messi.
“There was [Diego] Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo… it’s hard to say that Messi is the best throughout the history of football. I can only say he is the best of his era,” Ronaldinho said.
Messi has spoken highly of Ronaldinho in the past and argued that the legendary Brazilian was “responsible for the change in Barca .
And the Barcelona superstar added that Ronaldinho came at a “bad time and the change that came about with his arrival was amazing.”
Messi explained: “Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barca. It was a bad time and the change that came about with his arrival was amazing.
“In the first year, he didn’t win anything but people fell in love with him. Then the trophies started coming and he made all those people happy.
“Barca should always be grateful for everything he did.”