Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that he was surprised that Lionel Messi was not going to continue at Barcelona. The Argentine coach revealed that when sporting director Leonardo told him about the opportunity to sign Messi, he thought Leonardo was joking with him.
One of the most exciting transfer windows in recent history was capped off by the sensational switch of Lionel Messi from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentina international moved on a free transfer to the Ligue 1 club after Barcelona failed to comply with La Liga regulations and was unable to register the 34-year-old as a result.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner made a strong claim to being one of the best players that football has ever witnessed as he made 778 appearances with the Catalan club. The former Barcelona star scored 672 goals and provided 301 assists across all competitions for his boyhood club while also leading the Spanish club to numerous trophies.
The Argentine attacker has had a slow start to the current campaign for his standards as he has only scored one goal in five appearances for the Parisian club across all competitions. PSG boss Pochettino reflects on the conversation he had with sporting director Leonardo when the opportunity to sign Messi arose.
“Leonardo called me and said: 'The possibility is there. Would you like it or not?' The good thing is that he called me to ask. I said to myself: 'Is it a question?' I thought it was a joke, no? Of course, I told him: 'Do we have to go and get him? Do I have to drive the van?' And that is when the negotiation started. From then on Leonardo would call me every night to tell me how the situation was," Pochettino told reporters in his pre-match press conference.
“Everyone had assumed that Messi would continue at Barcelona. Many clubs, if not all clubs, dreamt of having Messi, with him being a free agent. From the moment that PSG showed an interest, Leo wanted to come here. Everything happened very fast,” he added.