While Messi would welcome the chance to play alongside Rooney, the Argentinian international was pessimistic about the prospect.
“It would be a dream to play with Rooney if Manchester United ever came to the point where they needed to sell him,” Messi said in the Daily Star Sunday.
“I would personally go to the Barcelona president and ask that he be signed myself.
“There are always a handful of players in the world at any one time who can go down in the footballing history books.
“At the moment, there are maybe (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Rooney, Xavi and one or two more – but I can’t think of one that plays with the desire of Rooney.
“We all know football players at the top level are blessed with high wages, it’s no secret. But Rooney would play for 100 euros-a-week. You can see the fire in his eyes.
“It’s that fire which makes him the best of the best.
“I don’t know if I will ever play with him but, if he ever wants to leave, he is one of the few talents that can improve this Barcelona team.”