‘Messi more skilful than Ronaldo’

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Capello, who was in charge of Los Blancos in 2007 before Ronaldo joined the Galacticos, believes the Portuguese star is a talented footballer, but does not possess as much skill as his Argentine counterpart.

"Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are two extraordinary players but they are different," the Italian tactician told AS.

"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 experienced manager then revealed how he tried to sign Messi when his Juventus side faced Barcelona in a friendly in 2005.

"It's completely true that I asked [then Barcelona boss Frank] Rijkaard if he would loan me Messi," the 68-year-old said.

"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. I knew the value of my defender and when I saw Messi play I knew he was special.

"I could see that he could do things that didn't occur to other players."

Despite winning the Ballon d’Or on four occasions, Messi is widely expected to be edged by reigning World Player of the Year Ronaldo for the 2014 accolade.

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