Former Real Madrid and Juventus manager Fabio Capello has revealed that he tried to sign Lionel Messi when he was at Juventus. The Barcelona superstar has achieved immense heights in the last few years.

After winning four FIFA Ballon d’Or award, he is rightly considered as one of the best in the world. Despite his numerous list of accolades, there are also those who questioned whether Messi could have achieved the same at a different environment other than Barcelona. Messi has been practically brought up by Barcelona since he entered into the teens.

Capello, who is now in charge of the Russian national team, says that he first came to the notice of Messi’s prodigious talent in 2005 when Barcelona played against Juventus in a pre-season friendly match. Despite being only a teenager back then, Messi troubled the Juventus defence to such an extent that Capello looked at the possibility of signing him. Due to the presence of players like Samuel Eto’o and Ronaldinho, the first team opportunities did not look bright for Messi back then. The arrival of Pep Guardiola in 2008 provided a huge impetus for Messi to go on and achieve many things in the game.

Guardiola was key in making Messi as his most important player rather than Ronaldinho. "It's completely true that I asked [then Barca boss Frank] Rijkaard if he would loan me Messi. When the play had stopped for a minute I went over to Rijkaard and said: 'You can't play him because you've got three foreigners already. Why don't you let me have him for a year?' Rijkaard replied: 'We're going to clear up the situation in three or four months and for that reason I can't do it.' That's why Messi's [Barca] debut was last in coming,” said Capello about his desire to sign Messi.