Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino revealed that he thought the club’s sporting director Leonardo was playing a joke on him when he was first told that the signing of Lionel Messi was possible.
Messi joined PSG as a free agent on August 10, days after Barcelona announced that it could not register the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s new contract due to financial constraints.
“Leonardo called me and said: ‘The possibility is there. Would you like 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, right? Of course, “Pochettino said.
“I said, ‘Do we have to go get him? Do I have to drive the truck?’ And that’s when the negotiation started. From then on Leonardo called me every night to tell me how the situation was. “
Messi, 34, had agreed to a new five-year contract with Barça, and his previous contract expired on June 30. However, that contract would have meant that Barça’s wage bill would be 110% of its income.
“Everyone had assumed that Messi would continue at Barcelona,” Pochettino said.
“Many clubs, if not all clubs, dreamed of having Messi, being a free agent. From the moment PSG showed interest, Leo wanted to come here. Everything happened very quickly. Leonardo’s work must be highlighted , from our president and all the club managers who in two or three days managed to sign the best player in the world ”.
THEY WANT MBAPPÉ
Leonardo, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, and club executives, meanwhile, are still working to convince Kylian Mbappe to stay with the club beyond next summer when his contract expires.
“Who cannot think that PSG would not want him [Mbappé] continue here for many more years? ”, added Pochettino.
“The club will try to convince and seduce him to stay here.”
Real Madrid’s long-term goal, Mbappé confirmed that he had wanted to leave PSG in July, but the Ligue 1 giants refused to sell him despite knowing that the French forward could sign for a new club on January 1, already who will be a free agent next summer.
Mbappé’s mother, Fayza Lamari, recently said her son is in talks to sign a new deal with PSG despite intense interest from Madrid.
“He is clear about things and loves soccer,” Pochettino said. “He is 22 years old but he is very mature to handle this type of situation regarding his future. I have no doubt in my mind that Kylian can face any challenge that the future throws at him.”
“You cannot underestimate the footballers. They have their entourage, their advisers, but they are the ones who make their own decisions. Kylian will make the decision he has to make, and the club will do everything possible to keep Kylian because we are talking about one of the best players in the world. He is 22 years old and has great potential. “