Ronaldinho and Deco were sold because they turned up to training DRUNK and Barcelona ‘were afraid they would bring down Lionel Messi’, claims Alexander Hleb
- Barcelona sold Ronaldinho and Deco to ‘protect’ Lionel Messi
- That is the claim made for former Barca and Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb
- He says they turned up to training drunk and were sold for unprofessionalism
- Pep Guardiola’s decision turned out great, as Lionel Messi flourished at Barca
Alexander Hleb has claimed that Barcelona sold Ronaldinho and Deco in 2008 to ‘protect’ the then young star Lionel Messi.
The two Brazilian superstars were established members of the Barcelona team at a time when Messi was rising up through the ranks to the starting XI.
However, Hleb alleged that they were sold due to their unprofessionalism, as they would turn up DRUNK to training.
Alexander Hleb claims Ronaldinho and Deco turned up to Barcelona training drunk in 2008
The former Barcelona man says that Pep Guardiola sold them in order to protect Lionel Messi
Ronaldinho and Deco were stars at Barcelona, so Guardiola must have seen a lot in Messi
Hleb spent four years at Barcelona after leaving Arsenal in 2008, but only played 36 games as he went out on a number of loan spells.
‘Ronaldinho and Deco came to training drunk,’ he told VOKA TV. ‘That’s why Ronaldinho and Deco were sold in 2008. Because they (Barcelona) were afraid that they would bring down Lionel Messi.’
Sportsmail has contacted Ronaldinho, Deco and Barcelona for comment.
Pep Guardiola moved up from managing Barcelona B to the first team in 2008, and sold Ronaldinho and Deco in the same year.
RONALDINHO, DECO, AND MESSI STATS AT BARCELONA
Trophies: Champions League x1, La Liga x2, Spanish Super Cup x3,
Trophies: Champions League x1, La Liga x2, Spanish Super Cup x3
Trophies: Champions League x4, La Liga x10, Spanish Cup x6 Spanish Super Cup x8, FIFA Club World Cup x3, UEFA Supercup x3
If Hleb’s claims are to be believed, then it shows just how much Guardiola thought of Messi at the time, when he was just 21 years old.
Ronaldinho is regarded as one of the most skilful players ever, and scored 94 goals in his 207 appearances for Barcelona, during which time he was widely hailed as the world’s best player.
Ronaldinho and Deco had successful careers at Barcelona, but Messi has far surpassed them
Hleb was at Barcelona for four years, but spent much of his time out on loan
Deco is one of the few players to win a Champions League with two separate clubs, and was a central part of Barcelona’s midfield in his 161 appearances.
Despite the star power of those two players, Guardiola’s decision appears to have been a good one, as Barcelona went on to an era of dominance in Spain and Europe over the following years, and Messi flourished into one of the best players of all time.
The Argentinian has surpassed both of his former team-mates, scoring a staggering 603 goals in 687 games.