Pochettino: I nearly worked with Messi in the past

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 17 May 2021 21:11 CEST 2 min read
Pochettino: I nearly worked with Messi in the past

New PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that he came close to working with Lionel Messi in the past when the Argentine was the subject of a loan bid from Espanyol.

Messi has been linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer after becoming disillusioned with life at the Camp Nou both on and off the pitch.

As of 1 January he is free to talk to other clubs about a potential move in the summer, with PSG and Man City thought to be the leading contenders for his signature should he decide to leave Barca.

Pochettino, who started his managerial career at Barcelona’s city rivals Espanyol, has refused to be drawn on speculation surrounding any PSG swoop for Messi.

However, he says Messi almost joined Espanyol as a teenager, only for Barcelona to pull the plug on the deal following a dazzling performance in the traditional pre-season Trofeo Gamper fixture.

“Messi to PSG? No comment. When I was at Espanyol Southampton or my dream was to have the best players at the club and Messi came close to being loaned out to Espanyol,” Pochettino revealed to El Larguero.

“The deal was well advanced but he delivered a great display at the pre-season Trofeo Gamper and that was the end of that.

“We’ve met over the years in places such as London or in Italy. We both share the love for Newell’s, as we both came through their academy and that is our common bond. 

“I’m aware of all that is going on [with Messi]. I’ve been watching everyone from West Ham to Valladolid and these days you need to keep your eyes on every team.

The former Tottenham boss ultimately refused to comment on Messi’s future in case his words were taken out of context.

“I really don’t want to talk about Messi as everything then gets blown out of proportion,” he added.

Pochettino has enjoyed an unbeaten start to life as PSG boss, starting off with a draw away at Saint-Etienne before winning three in a row versus Brest, Marseille, and Angers.

The victory in Le Classique was in the Trophee des Champions final, which gave him the first silverware of his managerial career.