Fabio Capello has revealed that he tried to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona while Coach at Juventus.
The current Russia CT says that he spoke to then-Barcelona Coach Frank Rijkaard during the 2005 Joan Gamper Trophy, asking if Juve could take Messi on loan as Barcelona had already fulfilled their quota of foreign players.
The offer was rejected and Messi has gone on to score 362 goals in 428 competitive games for Barca since that day in August.
“It's completely true that I asked Rijkaard if he would loan me Messi for Juventus,” Capello revealed to Cadena SER.
“When the play had stopped for a minute [during the Gamper Trophy] I went over to Rijkaard and said: ‘You can't play him because you've got three foreigners already. Why don't you loan him to Juventus for a year?’
“Rijkaard replied: ‘We are going to clarify the situation in three or four months, so I cannot do it’.
“That's why Messi's debut came later. I knew the value of my full-backs and when I saw Messi play I knew he was special. I could see that he could do things that other players didn’t even think of.”
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