‘Football will never forget your smile’ – Messi tells Ronaldinho after the Brazil legend announced his retirement

Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi has posted a heartfelt tribute to his former Barcelona team-mate Ronaldinho following his retirement from football.

On Tuesday, Ronaldinho’s brother and agent, Roberto Assis, revealed the Brazilian World Cup winner’s retirement after his stellar career.

Following his decision to hang his boots, a host of football stars sent out heartfelt messages to the 37-year-old Brazilian legend on social media.

Lionel Messi posted a picture of the pair together at Barcelona sitting down on the pitch.

He wrote: ‘As I always said, I learned a lot by your side. I will always be grateful to you for how easy it was that you did everything to me when I got to the dressing room.

‘I was lucky to share many things with you and I am very happy because, in addition to a phenomenon with the ball, you are a very great person and that is the most important thing.

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‘Even if you decide to leave, football will never forget your smile. All the best, Ronnie.’

The duo played together at the Camp Nou for four years before Ronaldinho departed for AC Milan.

David Beckham, who played with the Brazilian at Milan, also posted a heartwarming message on Instagram.

He said: ‘Welcome to retirement my friend … Pleasure to play with you , against you and to see someone smile doing something they love.’

Fellow Brazilian Neymar wrote: ‘@ronaldinho which honours to be part of its history. I will always remember your joy on the field, you left a legacy that will hardly be beaten in football ART … Thank you for everything you did for FOOTBALL lovers.’Ronaldo, who won the World Cup in 2002 with Ronaldinho as part of a terrorising front-three with Rivaldo as well, said: ‘Dividing the name, the nickname and so many historical moments with this genius was an honour. It ends now a victorious trajectory, perpetuating the trail of art and joy in our football. Thanks.’

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Other top stars to pay tribute on the social media platform included  Ronaldo Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard among many others.

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