Lionel Messi has sent a message of consolation to his compatriot Ronaldinho from Barcelona after the mother of the former Brazilian international passed away at the age of 71 due to complications from a Covid-19 infection.

Ronaldinho’s mother, Miguelina Eloi Assis dos Santos, was admitted to a hospital in Porto Alegre in December after contracting the virus.

The announcement of her death on Sunday caused some of the Brazilian footballers to grieve with grief.

The 40-year-old Ballon d’Or 2005 winner confirmed his mother’s illness in December, saying: “Dear friends, my mother has Covid-19 and we are struggling to make her recover soon.

“She is in intensive care and receiving the best possible care. I want to thank everyone in advance for the positive energy you always send. With love. Stay strong, mom.”

Atletico Mineiro, for whom Ronaldinho played between 2012 and 2014, led the choir of mourning for Dos Santos and wrote online about his “great sadness”.

“The Atleticana family mourns and shares the moment of pain with their idol,” added the club.

“May God receive you with open arms and comfort the heart of our eternal ace. Rest in peace, Dona Miguelina.”

Messi, a former colleague of Ronaldinho on the standout Barcelona team in the mid-2000s, also used social media to comfort his former teammate.

“Ronnie, I have no words. I can’t believe it,” Messi wrote in an Instagram story via translation.

“I’m just sending you a lot of strength and a big hug to you and the family. I’m very sorry. RIP.”

Ronaldinho and Messi’s careers will forever be linked. Back in the Brazilian playmaker’s pomp in 2005, when he was hailed as the best player in the world, Ronaldinho kept telling the media about the talents of the young Messi, who advanced to Barca from XI.

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As is well known, when asked by a reporter how it felt to be the best player in the world, Ronaldinho replied that he wasn’t even the most outstanding player in Barcelona.

Six Ballon d’Ors later, the rest of the football world finally caught up with Ronaldinho’s prophecy.

Judging by Messi’s concern for the man who got him not only into the Barcelona team but also into the all-time record books, the respect is clearly mutual.

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