According to Alexander Hleb, Barcelona sold Ronaldinho and Deco as they tried to protect Lionel Messi, as the pair often came to training drunk.

Ronaldinho and Deco were world-class players at Camp Nou as early as the year when Messi emerged from the Barca youth system in 2004 and was close to the pair.

However, the Brazil and Portugal internationals were sold in 2008 when Pep Guardiola took charge of the club and refined the squad before experiencing an era of incredible success with the Catalan club.
Hleb, 38, joined the Barcelona from Arsenal around the same year Guardiola was appointed as Frank Rijkaard's successor .

The Belarus international remembers Ronaldinho and Deco's antics and revealed this to news outlet V OKA TV. He believes that both players were sold due to their growing influence on Lionel Messi.

Hleb was considered as one of the best-attacking midfielders for the Gunners before making his big money move to Barcelona.

However, he failed to impress at the Catalan outfit and mad just 36 appearances in his four-year stay at the club.

Hleb spent the majority of his time on loan at Stuttgart, Birmingham, and Wolfsburg before leaving for Russian side KryliaSovetov Samara in 2012.

The 38-year-old went on to have three different spells at BATE Borisov in between spells in Turkey.

In the interview, Hleb revealed that he didn’t want to join Barcelona but was influenced by his agents. According to him, this was the turning point of his career as it was the wrong move for him.

Hleb could not dislodge the midfield trio of Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets and Andreas Iniesta from the first team. Released by Bate Borisov in the summer the midfielder is currently without a club and is considering retirement.

The sale of Deco and Ronaldinho has proven to be the best decision for the Catalan club as Messi has gone on to enjoy a stellar career.