Russia manager Fabio Capello spoke on Spanish radio on Wednesday night, where he revealed that he once asked Frank Rijkaard, during a match, if he could take Leo Messi on loan when in charge at Juventus.
Messi: "It's completely true that I asked Rijkaard if he would loan me Messi for Juventus. When the play had stopped for a minute (during the Gamper Trophy in 2005) 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 debut was last in coming. I knew the value of my full backs and when I saw Messi pay I knew he was special. I could see that he could do things that didn't occur to other players."
Neymar: "Neymar is a great player but I can't stand players who throw themselves to the floor every time they are touched. Pepe does the same thing. When they are winning and they get touched they go down. I don't like that. I like the spirit of games in England: running, fighting and not going down on the floor. As the English say: "No diving." Messi, on the other hand, despite all the kicks he gets, never dives. He is a player that I adore."
Champions League favourites: "For me the best team in Europe is Real Madrid. Their forwards have a lot of pace and skill, and this year the defence is much better. Bayern Munich are also a good side but Madrid are better. Chelsea are dangerous because they are hungry: they fight, they run and they have a lot of quality. Diego Costa is the man they lacked in attack and they also have a great goalkeeper. I see Barça maybe among the four semi-finalists but their performance will rely on how Luis Enrique manages the three forwards."
Messi and Ronaldo: Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are two extraordinary players but they are different. Cristiano is a powerful player, with very good technique, but he does not possess the pure technical skill of Messi. Leo Messi is a very difficult player to play against."
The Clasico: "In the Clasico, Mascherano prevented Madrid from scoring five; he prevented two or three goals. In the first half Barça played well, but in the second Madrid was the better side. At this moment there is a difference between the teams because Madrid has more balance on the pitch. Barcelona lacks that."
Messi-Neymar-Suárez: "The three could be compatible, but it depends on where you play Messi. He needs to play closer to the goal to stay fresh. Luis Suárez is a player who is worth only 60 percent of his capability if he's on the wing. Suárez requires time because he's been out for four months and because he's a player who scores goals and can make the difference. If Luis Enrique finds the right formula, it's a front line that can score a lot of goals."
Iker Casillas: "I don't understand the debate about the goalkeeper's position at Real Madrid. He is an extraordinary goalkeeper and he has been through a tricky patch as all players do. Messi also went through a time when he wasn't Messi. You have to recognize the value of a player and help him through the hard times."