"Messi was about to play for Espanyol" - Pochettino told how he almost played with Messi
       

"Messi was about to play for Espanyol" - Pochettino told how he almost played with Messi

Lionel Messi    

By Anuran Haloi | Published on 4:45 PM, 20 Jan 2021






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The Newly Appointed PSG Boss Mauricio Pochettino has a deep admiration for the little genius Lionel Messi.  The Argentine has revealed he once came close to working with a teenage Lionel Messi when he was in charge of Espanyol.

The PSG boss has refused to talk about a move in the present day for the Barcelona captain to the capital of France. Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and appears unwilling to commit his future to the Camp Nou. Within Presidential Election looming close that decision might change but for now PSG boss denied any transfer report.

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But the Argentine was willing to discuss a transfer in the past that didn't come off due to a scintillating pre-season display from his compatriot Leo Messi. Pochettino played for Espanyol between 1994-2001 and 2004-2006. Messi debuted in the senior team of Barcelona in 2004. In 2005 there were talks about loaning Messi out to Espanyol for more game time and development.   Messi was about to play for Espanyol. The loan was practically made before the Gamper Cup or Joan Gamper Trophy vs Juventus in 2005. It is an annual friendly football match hosted by FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium before the starting of the La Liga season. Messi delivered a mouth-watering display against the Italian Rivals showed off his trademark dribbling skills in the match, with Juve players forced to foul him on a number of occasions. He also produced a superb assist in the match that Barcelona lost on penalties after a 2-2 draw. But the display was enough to retain him in the senior team. The rest was history. Had Messi loaned out to Espanyol, Pochettino, and Messi would have played for the same colors. After retiring as a player, Pochettino began his managerial career at Espanyol in 2009. 

The ex-Tottenham boss explained to El Larguero about his experience with Messi,

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

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


Messi and Pochettino both played at Newell’s Old Boys Club at Argentina in their early years. Before Barcelona spotted him, Messi played at Newell’s.

“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.”

Having come close to leaving last summer, only to change his mind at the last hour, Messi is expected to end his long-term association with Barca at the end of the season.

PSG one of a small number of clubs that could afford to pull off the deal. But Pochettino does not want to get involved in addressing the rumors of a move.

“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.”

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

Earlier this week chief Leonardo said the French giants have a 'place reserved' at the table for great players like Messi.

“Great players like him will always be on PSG's list,” he admitted in an interview with France Football.

“Now is not the time to discuss or even dream of it. We are seated at the table of those keeping tabs on it. In fact, not seated, but with a place reserved -- just in case. Four months is a long time.”



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