forbes: Back in January, fired former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino was one of sporting director Eric Abidal’s top choices to replace Ernesto Valverde.
“Barcelona had been looking for a new manager for months,” wrote Catalan journalist Guillem Balague on Twitter around the time. “Eric Abidal was very impressed with Pochettino and was backed/admired by not only Ramon Planes (Eric’s right hand man) and president [Josep Bartomeu], as he knows Poch well, but other top directors too,” it was added.
“FCB wanted to take the decision this week and Pochettino needed more time to think about it. It is a hard decision to take, being [an] Espanyol fan and needing to know the project in detail. He wanted to talk to his people. It was all too rushed,” concluded Balague.
Quique Setien eventually taking the role as Barca’s fourth option, after similar refusals from Xavi Hernandez and Ronald Koeman, the Camp Nou door is shut for now. Yet that still hasn’t stopped Champions League finalist Pochettino from hoping for a union with his compatriot Lionel Messi one day.
Speaking to Radio de Plata in their shared homeland of Argentina this week, a widely-circulated headline quote across the South American nation comes in the form of Pochettino saying, “I want to return to Newell’s [Old Boys] with Messi.”
Probed on whether he wishes to make a comeback to the Rosario outfit where he and the Ballon d’Or winner both began their careers, Pochettino’s exact words were: “I can still wait, [for an opportunity with Newell’s] and the best [possible scenario] would be in 10 years with Messi.”
Still on the subject of the 32-year-old, Pochettino explained that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar “is a huge goal for Messi and for the Argentine [national] team.”
“I hope he arrives at a great moment. Age gives him [this],” Pochettino went on, stating that the game owes Messi and his golden generation the title. “His presence will be a recognition of the generation that deserved something more. Argentina is going to come well [equipped] to fight for the World Cup,” he concluded.
While a simultaneous Newell’s return for both parties is a romantic prospect for their fans and those of South American soccer to ponder, it is not a given that Messi will head back to where he started before being scouted by Barca on the verge of his teens.
He has previously threatened to end his career there, but has since started a young family that is settled in the Catalan capital making it becoming increasingly more likely he will hang up his boots with the Blaugrana.
With regards to a Pochettino-Messi partnership, failure by Lionel Scaloni to deliver the Copa America title on home soil in 2021 could pave the way for the pair to work together for La Albiceleste much sooner.
Source: Published by forbes