Ever since making his professional debut, the soccer world has been all about Lionel Messi. It's always been Messi this, or Messi that, and how could you blame people? we're talking about a top 3 player in the history of the game.
Messi has grown to become a leader, a strong presence in the locker room that finally talks his mind and steps up when Barcelona and Argentina need him the most, but he hasn't always been like that.
That's why his former teammate and Barcelona bust Alexander Hleb claims the team actually went to great lengths to protect him back in the day, even going as far as selling two of their biggest stars because of the impact that could've had on an impressionable and young Messi.
“Ronaldinho and Deco came to training drunk. That's why Ronaldinho and Deco were sold in 2008. Because they were afraid that they would bring down Lionel Messi," Hleb told V OKA TV.
Ronaldinho's sell was one of the most controversial transactions Barcelona has ever made, as people thought he still had a lot of magic left in the tank despite his off-court antics and constant desire to party.
Deco, on the other hand, the Portuguese superstar was already leaning towards the sunset of his career, but he was still a fairly beloved and respected player at Barcelona.
Long story short, it's safe to assume that Barcelona's policy of protecting Messi at all costs was a massive success, as the playmaker grew to become the greatest player in the history of the club, and it's not even close.
As for Deco, Ronaldinho, and Hleb, they'll all have plenty to brag about from their time at Camp Nou, but first and foremost, they're definitely going to talk about having the honor of sharing the pitch with Lionel.