The Bianconeri came up against the Blaugrana in a pre-season friendly back in 2005, with the then-teenager allegedly proving such a handful that the former England manager enquired about him mid-game.
Capello is quoted by AS as saying: "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. 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."
Messi has won the Ballon d'Or prize four times and is widely considered one of the finest players of all time.