Lewandowski dreams of Messi returning to Barcelona


Mauricio Pochettino believes he offered stability to Paris Saint-Germain but the challenge proved a step too far after he had to appease ‘too much grandeur’ within his squad.

PSG brought in Lionel Messi in August 2021, along with Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos, to partner Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.

A plethora of world-class talent was expected to help Pochettino’s side to European glory, although they instead withdrew from the 2021-22 Champions League after a dramatic last-16 clash with eventual winners Real Madrid.

Pochettino and PSG then parted ways in July 2022, with Christophe Galtier his replacement, and the Argentine said balancing an abundance of superstar footballers was the biggest difficulty.

“You have to constantly adapt because there was too much grandeur,” Pochettino told Spanish outlet Relevo.

“For Barcelona to have Messi or for Madrid to rely on Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a blessing. But when you put too many players on the pitch who all need their place and to be number one, there can be confusion.

“At the end of the day when you play it’s 11 players with one ball. There’s been a penalty and who takes it? It’s not even the manager’s decision.

“Our ability [Pochettino and his coaching staff’s] was to be people who kept the consensus, who were flexible to give everyone what they needed.

“The fact is that everyone needed something different with their situation, depending on what they were doing in sporting terms, in family terms, etc.

“We have made sure that there is a certain stability at PSG this year and that the same elements are maintained.”

Recruitment from PSG has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with their desire to bring together the biggest names in world football coming at the expense of both player happiness and defensive stability.

Mbappe’s time at PSG with Pochettino has been filled with transfer speculation, with the striker signing a bumper three-year extension after it appeared increasingly likely he would await a move to Madrid.

Former Tottenham boss Pochettino hinted he didn’t even know Mbappe was going to sign new terms just hours before PSG broke the news.

“They asked me at a press conference if I saw myself with Mbappe at PSG and I said yes because he had one year left on his contract,” he added.

“[Carlo] Ancelotti [once] says this thing about how managers can’t tell the truth.

“Kylian was always calm, he always told me he hadn’t made a decision. I knew what everyone [else] knew. He said to me, ‘Sir, I haven’t made a decision.’ I insisted: “But tell me if you signed, it can remain secret. “Sir, I didn’t sign anything,” he replied. ‘Are you going to stay?’ ‘I do not know.’ ‘Are you going to leave?’ ‘I do not know.’

“And like that until the end. I don’t know what happened next, I only found out a few hours before the announcement in the final match [of the season].”


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