Deulofeu, a product of the Blaugrana’s famous La Masia academic system, was a stellar teenager when the Barcelona legend was strutting his stuff at the Camp Nou.

Ronaldinho is the best player in history

Lionel Messi is an “incredible” player, but Ronaldinho remains “the best player in history,” says Gerard Deulofeu, the man who worked alongside both at Barcelona. Deulofeu, a product of the Blaugrana’s famous La Masia academic system, was a stellar teenager when the Barcelona legend was strutting his stuff at the Camp Nou. He then made his way to the first team alongside the Argentine icon. Ronaldinho and Messi are both great all the time, with the Ballon d’Or family gathered between them. Messi owns six of those, but Deulofeu believes that a fan favourite of the past was the more exciting and ageing talent. He told the official Serie A’s website: “For me, Ronaldinho is the best player in history. I met him, I went to watch the match at the Camp Nou, and he was sitting next to me. It was a wonderful experience.

Deulofeu is happy at Udinese

“Messi is also incredible; I like him. I played with Leo for six months, and he is a good man, a great player. The whole world knows about Messi.” Deulofeu had two spells at the Camp Nou in his career but struggled to make his mark. That led him to seek opportunities elsewhere, at Everton, AC Milan and Watford. The 26-year-old Deulofeu is now back in Italy with Udinese – on a seasonal loan from Vicarage Road – and thrilled to have been given a second chance to star in Serie A. Deulofeu added on being Udine: “The stadium is beautiful, but I already knew it because I played here with AC Milan. I like the training base, and it is huge and I had a wonderful time in Serie A the last time. And I played a lot and played well.

“I have a great memory of AC Milan and their fans. But now I am here, and my favour goes to Udinese and the club’s fans. I feel different than I did then because then I was looking for regular playing time inconsistency in my performances. Now, after two and a half years at Watford, I think I am a completely different player. I want to help the squad by playing the best offensively. Let’s see what happens. I’m happy. I’ve worked hard over the past few months.”