Ronaldinho rues not playing alongside Lionel Messi more at Barcelona

Ronaldinho has said he regrets not spending more time playing alongside Lionel Messi, although he feels he made the right decision to leave Barcelona for AC Milan when Pep Guardiola took over at Camp Nou.

Ronaldinho was widely regarded as the best player in the world when he played alongside Messi in Barca's first team between 2004 and 2008, a tag which the Argentine has since taken on.

Having watched Messi develop from afar, winning everything in club football with the Blaugrana, as well as five Ballon d'Or awards. Ronaldinho concedes that he wishes he'd spent more time as his teammate.

"I would have loved to have played more with Messi," he said in an interview with the Gulf News. "He's a great player and I'm very glad to have helped him at the beginning of his career with the assistance of his first goal.

"Having seen him go on to become such a great player, it would have been great to have played more with him, but at that time my period at Barca was over and it was time for me to move to achieve new things and set new objectives, so the time had come for me to leave."

Pressed on if nostalgia had allowed any feelings of regret to creep in concerning his exit for Italy, he responded: "No, not at all."

Ronaldinho, like Pele and Diego Maradona before him, won the World Cup during his prime, something Messi has not been able to replicate with Argentina. It is often claimed that without that trophy, he cannot be dubbed the greatest player ever.

However, Ronaldinho does not think that is fair. The 36-year-old believes his former colleague has already done more than enough to prove himself.

"Messi is a great player and the Argentina national team is a great team, I believe they have a real chance of winning the next World Cup," he added when asked if international honours are needed if the Barca forward wants to cement his place as the best ever.

"He demonstrates that he's the best every day. Week-in-week-out he keeps playing at such a level that demonstrates how good he really is, so there's no real need for him to show anymore at the World Cup. But as my friend I always wish him the best as I do all of my friends."