Quotes on: Ronaldinho and Iniesta

One was a flame of genius that burned almost uncontrollably, the other the personification of calm, collected, calculating genius. One came, saw, and conquered every team in his path for three seasons, the other took years to show the world the genius his team-mates always knew he possessed. The first, known as much for the buck-toothed grin perpetually plastered on his face and his flowing locks of hair as his ability with a ball at his feet, played the game in a manner not seen since Garrincha, Best, and Maradona. The second, a balding, pale will-o’-the-wisp whose technique matched that of Zidane and Cruyff before him, conquered the world, winning everything the professional game has to offer. The first single-handedly rescued a side in decline, transforming it into the greatest team in the world, and the second helped perfect a style of football unlike anything seen before, becoming a crucial cog in the greatest club and national sides in the history of the game. The first succumbed to the incendiary pressures of life in the public eye, his talent dimmed and brilliance doused by his own vices. The second is the model professional, a shining light for every youngster looking to make it in the professional game.

Iniesta won everything the game has to offer. This goal, and the celebration, cemented his place in folklore.
Iniesta won everything the game has to offer. This goal, and the celebration, cemented his place in folklore.

Two polar opposites in every sense, yet both recipients of universal love for the way they played the game, Ronaldinho and Andres Iniesta will undoubtedly and rightfully go down in history as two of the greatest players of their generation, and certainly two of the best to ever have played for FC Barcelona. The Spanish press once said of Real Madrid legend “Don” Alfredo di Stefano’s influence on Los Merengues in the 1950s and 60s: “In Madrid, the field at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium leans to the left because Alfredo Di Stéfano had played so much on this side.” Perhaps it is time this telling and most articulate phrase is used once more; there are certainly very few players, if any, who can claim to have had an impact on their club rivaling that of Don di Stefano’s at the Bernabeu, and Ronaldinho and Iniesta are undoubtedly part of that short list. Their impact at the Camp Nou will go down in history, and the burden of their achievements on the shoulders of those chosen to follow in their footsteps will be outweighed by the sheer joy they brought to millions around the world.

Alegria de Ronaldinho durante el partido
Ronaldinho played with a smile on his face, and brought smiles on the faces of millions of fans.

Here are some of the best quotes about two of the greatest players to have played for Barcelona: Ronaldinho and Iniesta.

Ronaldinho

“I’ve worked with some great players in my time and all at a very interesting period in their careers, nineteen to twenty years old. But, with due respect to the others, Ronaldinho was a cut above the rest.” — Celso Roth, Ronaldinho’s coach at Gremio, his first club

“I played against him when he first came to Europe to play for Paris Saint Germain in 2001 and even then you could tell he would one day become the best player in the world. He has unbelievable skill and so many tricks in his repertoire.” — Laurent Blanc

” [ . . . ] sometimes he did things that I never saw anyone else do. When we’d be winning the game, we’d start to enjoy ourselves and he’d bring it all out.” — Deco

“When I was at Barcelona, he was at the height of his career. Absolutely fantastic, the things he could do with the ball, and also the passing game he had was fantastic.” — Henrik Larsson

“Magic feet, but was not just about tricks – he created and scored the goals to match his ability.” — Roberto Carlos

“There was a period in Ronaldinho’s time at Barcelona where he was almost unplayable. Effortless, relaxed, always with a smile on his face, he’s a genius with the ball. I love Brazilian football and he is one of the best ever players from that country.” David Beckham

“There are not many players who can offer goal-scoring passes like he can. He is just marvellous. He is a rare case of an assist man who can provide the ball from anywhere.” — Rui Costa

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Ronaldinho provided a young Messi with a reference point, an indicator of what it would take to be the best in the world. For the way he helped Messi become the player he is today, Ronaldinho will never be forgotten.

“I had the good luck to experience him at first hand and to share many things with him. I can say that he’s a really great person and that’s the most important thing.” Lionel Messi

“Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barça. 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. Barça should always be grateful for everything he did.” — Lionel Messi

“He is the man that makes the difference between a team that plays well and another that is really memorable. He alone can decide one game.” Frank Rijkaard

“He transmits a lot of joy and pleasure playing the game, and he has individual skills that are of such a high level that everybody in the world adores him.” — Frank Rijkaard

“For skills and tricks, Ronaldinho was the best player I’ve played with.” — Edgar Davids

“It is fantastic how clever the guy is. He seems ready for every situation and the bigger the game, the more he can handle it. [ . . . ] He’s a great player and I guess that makes him psychic. When you play with him and see what he does with a ball, nothing surprises me any more. One of these days, he will make the ball talk.” — Eidur Gudjohnsen

“Who’s the best player I’ve ever played with? Ronaldinho no doubt. When he arrived at Milan he had no great desire or was tired and was no longer the Dinho of before. But what he wanted was for people to see that he was the best player in the world. More than Zidane, Pele and Maradona. He wanted to hit the crossbar three times and did it. We wondered how it was possible there was so much talent in one body. It was unbelievable.” — Kevin-Prince Boateng

“Ronaldinho is very hard to stop because his game is impossible to read. He never makes the same feint twice in a row. Even when I’d watched several videos of him, he was still hard to counter. He is simply too unpredictable and sharp.” — Daniel van Buyten

“No one can compare to Ronaldinho. I remember his plays, his dribbles. I remember him winning every title at the Camp Nou. He made history at Barca, he made history with Brazil and he’s still making history.” Neymar

“(T)he greatest player in the world. Ronaldinho? Absolutely. I just can’t get enough of watching him play – he’s a delight for the eye. His technique is incredible, his touch, his vision, he scores and he orchestrates everything. He’s just the complete player. I know how difficult it is for a forward playing at this level, but for him it’s so easy. He does it every single game and it’s just unbelievable to watch.” — Ruud van Nistelrooy

“Ronaldinho is total class – a very, very great player. He is quick, powerful, and has extraordinary technical qualities. 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 organizer. He’s more a second attacker who can score goals and has the vision to make them.” Zinedine Zidane

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

“He is one of the greatest players I have ever seen.” Diego Maradona

“Ronaldinho is the biggest idol in football for me. [ . . . ] In my opinion, I think that Ronaldinho, at that time [between 2003 and 2005], was bigger than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi make a lot of goals, but what Ronaldinho used to do was unbelievable. He used to be amazing on the field, and also scored a lot of goals. As his fan, I think he stopped [playing at the top level] a little early. If he continued to play [like earlier in his career] he would certainly be three, four, five times in a row the best player in the world. He was two times [the best player in the world], and then I don’t know what happened, but if he wanted to continue that way, he would certainly be five times in a row the best in the world.” — Willian

“The best player in history? Ronaldinho. Because when he was at his best nobody could compare. He always had a smile on his face as well. He had skill, scored fantastic goals and put magic into the game.” — Nani

Andres Iniesta

“With Xavi, he has helped Barcelona dominate the Champions League for the past 10 years. With his passing, he is one of the greatest.” Marco van Basten

iniesta-bcn

“Barcelona are a brilliant team and in my opinion Andres Iniesta is the best player in the world.” Wayne Rooney (2009)

“He always moans that he doesn’t score enough, as if with everything else he does, he has to get goals too.” Pep Guardiola

“Iniesta doesn’t dye his hair, he doesn’t wear earrings and he hasn’t got any tattoos. Maybe that makes him unattractive to the media but he is the best.” — Pep Guardiola

“When I said Iniesta was the world’s best, you laughed. Now you can see I’m right.”” — Samuel Eto’o

” [ . . . ] the best player in the world; whenever Iniesta is on the pitch he creates a spectacle.” — Samuel Eto’o

“He keeps the ball as if the latter always gets in his way. You can pass him the ball as you like – onto the back, on the back of his head, on the heel – he will receive and handle it. So unique is his technique! He gives a pass at the most unexpected moment for the opponent. He is not that quick, but he is flexible and nimble.” — Dmytro Chygrynskiy

“He is the complete footballer. He can attack and defend, he creates and scores.” — Vicente del Bosque

“Technically he is perfect and he plays so naturally, almost without effort. It’s like when Roger Federer plays tennis, he barely sweats.” — Vicente del Bosque

“I played him as a false winger, central midfielder, deep midfielder and just behind the striker and he was always excellent.” Frank Rijkaard

“I watch Iniesta and realise that, even at my age, I could be learning new things.” — Juan Roman Riquelme

” [ . . . ] the one who plays this game the best is Iniesta: he knows exactly when to go forward and when to drop back. He picks the right moment to do everything: when to dribble, when to speed things up and when to slow things down. And I think that’s the only thing that can’t be taught or bought. You can learn how to shoot and how to control the ball, but being aware of everything that’s happening out on the pitch – that’s something you’re either born with or you’re not.” — Juan Roman Riquelme

“Iniesta is easily Spain’s most complete player. He has everything.” Xavi

“Playing alongside him is very easy.” — Xavi

“Andrés and I are similar in that we both use our bodies a lot, to avoid opponents. But he has something that always amazes me. There’s always a moment when you think you’re going to catch him, when you think you’re going to get the ball off him, but you can’t. He’s not especially quick, but he has that ability to always get away from you, which comes from his technique.” — Lionel Messi

“The press often ask me about whether Messi or Ronaldo is the best, but for me something is very clear: Andres Iniesta is the number one. He is able to do even more difficult things on the pitch. He is magic with the ball and so influential.” — David Silva

“He is an example of a La Masia player. Technically he is unbelievable.” — Gerard Pique

With masterful technique and unparalleled balance, Iniesta in full flow with the ball at his feet is a sight to behold.
With masterful technique and unparalleled balance, Iniesta in full flow with the ball at his feet is a sight to behold.

“Iniesta – he is the Zinedine Zidane of the team, because he can do whatever you want him to with the ball.” — Yaya Toure

“When he has the ball, it’s like everything else stops – like the camera is going in slow motion.” — Fernando Torres

“I’ve been playing with him since we were 15 and I have never, ever seen him play badly.” — Fernando Torres

“He’s fantastic. He makes the team work. The way he finds passes, his movement and ability to create space is incredible. He’s so important for Barcelona.” Sir Alex Ferguson

“Andrés has been the best for years.” — Victor Valdes

“As a professional, as a person, and as a player, I think he’s fantastic. It’s like he’s dancing the tango. [ . . . ] I just love how he plays football so elegantly. To me, Andres is Don Andres.” — Dani Alves

“Iniesta’s the most inventive player in Spanish football at the moment. He’s like Harry Potter. One, two, three and whoosh… he’s past the player. It’s like he has a magic wand.” — Luis Enrique

“He reminds me of myself.” Zinedine Zidane

“When I see him play these days, he reminds me of Xavi. He was always a top quality player. He started very young with us, and it’s crazy to see how he has gone on to make so much history.” — Ronaldinho

“He makes the difficult things look easy. He has a great attacking sense; he can go one against one, and his touch is fantastic. He is a playmaker, and he has a great team spirit. And, when needed, he scores goals which give us victories like the one at Stamford Bridge.” — Joan Laporta

“It’s not that difficult to play well and win titles in a team like Barcelona, but it’s in the national side where you see a player’s true class. That was the case with figures like Pele, Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane. With Spain, Iniesta has shown that he is among the best players of all time and that’s why I rate him higher than Messi or Ronaldo. Even though the latter two have incredible scoring records for their clubs, they still haven’t won anything with Argentina or Portugal respectively.” — Boris Becker (admittedly not from someone from the football community, but a great quote nonetheless)

“Iniesta is the boyfriend that every mother wants her daughter to have. The figures over his career tell you all you need to know. He is a magical player. There are few players in the world that can compare to him.” — Sergio Ramos

“He is the enlightened one, [someone] touched by a magic wand. He commands so much respect on the pitch. As a football lover, I am proud to have played with him. He makes the difference and does things that no one else can do.” — Sergio Ramos

“There is not as much talk about Iniesta as there is about Messi, but I would like him to win the Ballon d’Or. He deserves it for his career with Barcelona and Spain, and for his virtues. He does everything right: he sets up chances like only a few can and he also scores regularly. Iniesta is a magician who always knows what to do when he gets the ball.” — Luis Fernandez

“As a player, he is the best example to follow. Every single youth team player should look up to him.” — Pedro

“He is someone who can make a difference. With a lot of skill and great vision, he’s one of the best players in the world.” — Pedro

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