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How Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo almost ended up playing for the same team

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When you mention the sport of football, the first two names that spring to mind are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the last decade, the two mercurial superstars have been utterly dominant, winning every personal accolade on offer and scoring so many goals that virtually every record has been rewritten by one of them.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have fed off of their greatness, with both Spanish giants winning a plethora of trophies, including Champions Leagues, La Ligas and Copa Del Reys.

They have always had something of a friendly rivalry but just imagine if they were part of the same forward line?

A scary thought.

Well, back in the early 2000's, that scenario was not far away from panning out, as the two young talents were so close to moving to the same European giant; Juventus.

The Bianconeri were managed by legendary manager Fabio Capello and he nearly had both of them to work with.

CAPELLO ASKED FOR MESSI

"It's completely true that I asked Rijkaard if he would loan me Messi for Juventus," said Capello.

"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?'

Barcelona v Sevilla

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

RONALDO WAS CLOSE TO PERMANENT JUVE MOVE

Italian agent Alessandro Moggi claims: Moggi said: "In 2003, Mendes was looking to engineer a move for his first great player: Cristiano Ronaldo. He was a kid of 18 who had just made his debut for Sporting and Mendes wanted him to move to Italy.

"We tried to help them out and offered him to Parma and Lazio but he was rejected by both. Juventus on the other hand said yes and sent us to Lisbon with Mendes to tie up the deal with Sporting.

Japanese Makoto Kakuda (L) fights for th

"In a matter of half a day, he became a Manchester United player.

"It was a deal that could have changed the history of European football. I thought about it a million times during the days I was in Lisbon."

IT WAS A CLOSE ONE

Imagine if it had all fallen into place, a young Messi and Ronaldo partnership taking Serie A by storm.

But, it wasn't to be.

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Topics:
Barcelona
Real Madrid
La Liga
Football
Gareth Bale
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo

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