Former Arsenal playmaker, Alexander Hleb, has claimed Barcelona sold Ronaldinho and Deco to protect Lionel Messi, because the pair always turned up for training drunk.
Ronaldinho and Deco were established world-class players at Camp Nou, by the time Messi emerged from the Barca youth system in 2004.
But the duo were sold in 2008 when Pep Guardiola took charge.
Hleb, 38, joined the Blaugrana from Arsenal the same year Guardiola was appointed as Frank Rijkaard's successor.
"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 VOKA TV.