Ronaldinho: The best quotes about Brazilian legend from Messi, Neymar, Zlatan and more

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With Ronaldinho back in the news following a typically flamboyant display for a Barcelona legends XI against Real Madrid in Tel Aviv, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on his standing in the game.

Indeed, in the days before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo broke all manner of goalscoring records, there was a more conceptual metric: joy.

Of course, that's not to say that watching either of the two greatest players in modern history is not a joyful experience, it's just that their unprecedented exploits can lead to desensitising, prompting a  wider debate: is perfection really all that fun?

Existential crisis aside, Ronaldinho's game wasn't solely about racking up the numbers. Clearly, there's no wrong or right way to play football, but the ease of his excellence, making a mockery of elite defences with the kind of skills schoolkids dream about had a profound impact on an entire generation.

In the goalscoring charts, the Brazilian might trail the other names vying to be considered the greatest player of all time but, frankly, his brilliance goes far beyond that.

With that in mind, here's a look at what some of the other all-time greatest have said about Ronaldinho.

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Another of the eight men to have won the World Cup, the Champions League and the Ballon d'Or, Zinedine Zidane hailed his great rival for his ability to see an eye for a pass, as well as score goals himself.

“Ronaldinho is total class – a very, very great player. He is quick, powerful, and has extraordinary technical qualities,” he said.

“He is a dribbler but is also a player who can make the play for his teammates.

“He’s not really a no.10, a true organiser. He’s more a second attacker who can score goals and has the vision to make them.”

Neymar 

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The latest incumbent of the iconic Brazilian number 10 shirt, Neymar has paid tribute to one of his idols before.

“No one can compare to Ronaldinho. I remember his plays, his dribbles.

“I remember him winning every title at the Camp Nou.”

Eden Hazard 

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At his best, Real Madrid star Eden Hazard boasted the kind of close control Ronaldinho thrilled us with and, along with compatriot Robinho, appears to have taught the Belgian star a thing or two.

“I learned a lot from Ronaldinho and Robinho. Football is a tactical game and you sometimes have to be serious.

“But they taught me to always do it with a smile and have fun. I spent hours watching their clips on YouTube.”

Sergio Ramos 

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Sergio Ramos is not a man who has often entertained opposing attackers trying to make him look silly but even the Real Madrid legend has conceded to Ronaldinho's brilliance.

“Ronaldinho was virtually unstoppable at his best, as a forward or a playmaker.”

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It takes a special talent to have Zlatan Ibrahimovic waxing lyrical about anything other than himself.

That, then, is a true testament to just how good Ronaldinho was.

“Ronaldinho was phenomenal. He made his opponents look like children."

Lionel Messi 

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It's lucky Lionel Messi is as good as he is, really. Indeed, imaging being the guy to replace Ronaldinho as Barcelona's No.10. A daunting prospect for most mere mortals although, clearly Messi has reached unprecedented levels of success.

Despite what he's gone onto achieve, Messi has waxed lyrical about Ronaldinho's importance in taking Barcelona back to the top of the game.

“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.”

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