Mauricio Pochettino insisted that “any great player in the world is always welcome at Paris Saint-Germain”, while the new coach of the French giants answered questions about the possibility of a sensational move for his compatriot Lionel Messi.
The Argentine was asked several times about Messi in his first press conference since he was appointed PSG coach, and the Barcelona superstar is now free to negotiate with other clubs, as his contract expires in June.
“To be honest we are not talking about that, it has been a crazy period for us, trying to adapt to a new club with meetings, training, preparing for tomorrow’s game which is the main goal,” said the former Tottenham Hotspur manager. Pochettino. , whose first game in charge of PSG will be on Wednesday in Saint-Etienne de Ligue 1.
“We will have time to talk in the future, but any great player in the world is always welcome at Paris Saint-Germain.”
Neymar got talking last month when he spoke of his desire to re-team with Messi, his former Barcelona teammate, next season.
If that is going to happen, right now it seems more likely that it will be in Paris than in Barcelona, with the Catalans in financial trouble and in crisis at the boardroom level.
Messi, like Pochettino, hails from the Argentine province of Santa Fe. Messi’s childhood club was Newell’s Old Boys, where Pochettino began his career.
– Links from Alli, Eriksen –
In the short term, names linked to moves to PSG in the January window include Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, who both played with Pochettino at Tottenham.
“They are rumors, and the reality is that we have just arrived and we are working with the players who are here,” said Pochettino about Eriksen, who is currently at Inter Milan.
“The current reality is complicated and all over the world we are all suffering.”
– First game on Wednesday –
Pochettino, 48, was named in a deal until the end of next season, with the option of one more year, after spending just over a year out of the game after leaving the Spurs.
He returns to Paris, where he spent two and a half years as a player between 2001 and 2003, as successor to Thomas Tuchel.
The German was fired despite leading PSG to the Champions League final last season, with the Qatari-owned club currently third in Ligue 1, one point below first place.
“Santa Claus was good to me by giving me this opportunity. We are well aware of the scale of the challenge here. There is great pressure because this is one of the biggest clubs in the world, ”said Pochettino, who will be tasked with bringing out the best in Neymar and his teammate, superstar striker Kylian Mbappé.
Wednesday’s game in Saint-Etienne is the first of nine games in less than seven weeks before PSG face Messi and Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 in February.
“It seems distant but it is next month, and for us the most important thing is to build, to try to be at our best when we face Barcelona,” said the Argentine, who led Spurs to the 2019 Champions League final.
“We are very confident, we have an incredible squad and we will aim to win and go further, but Barcelona is one of the great clubs in the world and it will be difficult.”