Fabio Capello, Former AC Milan, Roma and Juventus manager has revealed in an interview with Sky Sport Italia as reported on DailyMail on how he almost signed Lionel Messi to Juventus when he was the manager of the club.
Capello had been the manager of Juventus from summer of 2004 till 2006 when he left the Old Lady for Real Madrid where he spent just a single season.
In his interview with Sky Sport Italia, the Italian spoke about his first introduction to Lionel Messi in his early days in Barcelona.
“There are categories and he, Maradona and Pelé fall into that of geniuses, those who invent things that others can’t even think of. They are not built, there have it in their DNA. I met Messi for the first time at the Gamper Trophy, we played Juve-Barcelona. There were 90,000 spectators and he was 16.
“I approached Rijkaard after 15-20 minutes and asked him: ‘Listen, can you loan him to me for a year? ‘He was 16, he came in and sent everyone into raptures.
“What did Rijkaard say to me? I knew that they already had three foreigners and could not put the fourth foreigner on the list and he said ‘Fabio don’t worry, there are no problems we will somehow manage to play him’. The Catalans also had their intrigues. Even then Messi was impressive”.
This has come to show how much of a raw talent Lionel Messi is to have been discovered and have coaches impressed about your performance at 16 and also shows how much of an insight Rijkaard has to has refused to let him go then. This will be one of the best career decisions he has made as the Argentine made his breakthrough into the first team during the 2005-06 season.
The winger ended up playing 25 games and scoring five goals and helped the team win the Champions League that season. Unfortunately, his season was spoiled by a serious injury and Messi couldn’t feature in the final.
Insight is one of the most priced qualities of a coach. This helps them decide who stays and who goes and half of the time, the gut feeling most coaches follow can betray them but on another hand, it could pay off.
Just maybe Messi’s career would have taken a different turn entirely if the then Barcelona boss had not refused to loan him to Juventus but then one has to thank him for letting him stay to unlock the greatness that has become today’s Lionel Messi.