It was a chaotic couple of days following Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona. Many clubs were linked with the Argentine for a possible free transfer deal, but in the end, it was Paris Saint-Germain that signed him.
PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino was not the leading figure in the club’s successful push to haul in Messi, but as he revealed to the Spanish-based show El Partidazo de COPE, sporting director Leonardo played one vital role in the club’s signing of the Argentine forward.
“It was very fast, that’s why I say that we have to emphasize the work of Leonardo,” Pochettino said. “In two days, they were able to manage the signing of the best player in the world. Everyone was waiting to see if he would stay at Barca, although everyone, I think, had assumed that he was going to stay. It all happened very quickly.
“Leonardo called me and said ‘There is the possibility of signing Messi, do you like him or don’t you like him?’ I thought it was a joke, I said ‘We have to go and look for him or what?’ I said yes and that was the beginning of the process. Every night, Leonardo called me to tell me how the situation was.”
Pochettino also revealed that he did not reach out to Messi to convince him to join PSG but was rather waiting as the rest of the club was to see on whether this signing would come to fruition.
“They didn’t tell me to talk to him to convince him, we spoke later when we were just waiting for the final details to come,” Pochettino said. “We had a very normal, natural conversation.”
Messi is so far off to a roller-coaster start with PSG, especially as he has not yet scored in a Ligue 1 fixture with the club. The Argentine will return to league play with PSG following the October international break, where he is slated to feature against the likes of Olympique de Marseille and Lille OSC.