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Ronaldinho names three Chelsea players in his Champions League dream XI

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Ronaldinho and Frank Lampard

Between 2003 and 2007 Ronaldinho was absolutely unstoppable.

The toothy Brazilian was undoubtedly the world's best player and premier entertainer, dazzling with an array of mind-boggling tricks that are very rarely seen on the football field.

But he was not just a show pony, in his pomp at Barcelona he helped Frank Rijkaard's team to two La Liga titles and the Champions League, while winning all kinds of individual awards, including being named the World Player of the Year and receiving the Ballon d'Or.

He finished his Barcelona career with 94 goals and 69 assists from 207 matches, a phenomenal record for someone who mostly played from the left wing.

Now 34 and on the brink of retirement, Ronaldinho has named his  Champions League dream team and there are a few surprise selections.

GK: Gianluigi Buffon

Ronaldinho says: "There have been some very good goalkeepers in my era, but Buffon is there for consistency. Most of the goalkeepers have had times when their form has not been so good, but Buffon has been at such a high level for so long."

RB: Marcos Cafu

Ronaldinho says: "You don’t become the most capped player in Brazil’s history, without being very special. I was so happy when he finally won the Champions League with Milan, for the best right back ever not to win the biggest club trophy would not be right."

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Chelsea captain John Terry is eyeing four trophies this season

Chelsea captain John Terry is eyeing four trophies this season

Chelsea captain John Terry is eyeing four trophies this season

 

CB: John Terry

Ronaldinho says: "We [Barcelona] had some big Champions League games against Chelsea, and I could see then why John Terry is still so important for them now. He is very tough to play against, but he is a fantastic leader, the leader you need in those sorts of games."

CB: Paolo Maldini

Ronaldinho says: "He was one of the best defenders in Champions League history, but what was so impressive about him is that when he was on the ball he didn’t look like a defender, but like an elegant midfield player."

LB: Roberto Carlos

Ronaldinho says: "Would be worth having in any team for his ability to take free kicks, but as well as being one of the best free kick takers ever, he is also one of the finest left backs ever. So important to all of Real Madrid’s Champions League wins."

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Liverpool striker Peter Crouch climbs highest to win this aerial battle with Chelsea's Claude Makelele and Alex

Liverpool striker Peter Crouch climbs highest to win this aerial battle with Chelsea's Claude Makelele and Alex

Liverpool striker Peter Crouch climbs highest to win this aerial battle with Chelsea's Claude Makelele and Alex

 

CM: Claude Makelele

Ronaldinho says: "Defenders feel safe knowing that he is ahead of them, the attackers feel safe knowing he is behind them, for me he is the best I have ever seen doing the job of protecting the defence. You never saw him play a bad game."

CM: Frank Lampard

Ronaldinho says: "I told Frank Rijkaard that we (Barcelona) should sign him, but he didn’t want to leave Chelsea. I am sure they would not have let him go, at that time he was one of the greats in Europe. His goal record from midfield was what really impressed me."

CM: Kaka

Ronaldinho says: "Things did not work out for Kaka as well as expected at Madrid, but we must not forget the player at Milan who was the real Kaka. For two, maybe three seasons he was the best player in the world, there was nothing he couldn’t do."

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Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

 

FW: Lionel Messi

Ronaldinho says: "I have won everything, it is impossible for me to have regrets. I do wish though that I could have played with Messi for longer than I did at Barcelona. There are no words to describe him; he just has magic in his feet."

FW: Ronaldo

Ronaldinho says: "He was my idol and then I end up playing and winning a World Cup with him. The most complete striker there has ever been, the most complete striker there will ever be, it is almost unbelievable to think that he never won the Champions League."

FW: Thierry Henry

Ronaldinho says: "My good friend who I played with at Barcelona, and there was even a chance that we nearly played together again in New York. Just a nightmare for defenders, was quick, had skill, and was strong."

Independent News Service