Mauricio Pochettino appears to have had a change of heart when it comes to the possibility of managing Barcelona in the future.
The former Tottenham Hotspur boss said back in 2018 that it would be “impossible” for him to take charge at the Camp Nou because of his loyalty to Barcelona’s local rivals Espanyol. Pochettino spent six years at the club as a player and also went on to manage Los Periquitos.
However, the Argentine has now given an interview to Jordi Quixano at El Pais where he’s explained his comments and opened the door to a potential move to the Catalan giants in the future.
“I was in Barcelona that year and I met [Barcelona president] Bartomeu in a bar. We greeted each other because we were taking the children to the same school and we were talking for five minutes. That generated a rumor that set off alarms because there were more teams that wanted us, and when they asked me I wanted to settle it drastically.
“I did not want to disrespect Barcelona. I could have said things differently. Espanyol has made a name for me. But I’m not arrogant and I didn’t like making a statement like that. Maybe now I wouldn’t because in life you never know what will happen.”
Pochettino was sacked by Spurs in November 2019 after five years with the north London club. The Argentine took Tottenham to the final of the Champions League for the first time in their history in 2018 and also led them to a second-place finish in the Premier League in 2017.
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Where Next For Pochettino?
Pochettino was linked with a move to Barcelona again in January when Ernesto Valverde was sacked as first-team coach. The club ultimately opted to move for Quique Setien who has come under pressure already after losing the league title to Real Madrid.
The former Spurs boss also spoke about the future, explaining he’d be happy to manage in Spain, Italy and Germany and is waiting for the right offer to arrive.
“The Premier League has commercial advantages, but the Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga are also powerful. I suit the Premier League, but am open to a new challenge and working towards new horizons could improve me as a coach.
“People act as if coaches want a project, but the truth is we just want to find a club and President whose ideas can gradually take us towards success. When that offer arrives, then I will say yes.”
Pochettino is likely to be a top candidate should any of the elite jobs in Europe become available this summer. The 48-year-old’s impressive exploits at Tottenham, attractive playing style, and ability to improve players will not have gone unnoticed around the continent.
Barca To Trust in Setien?
Meanwhile, Barcelona look set to place their trust in Setien despite an underwhelming start to life at the Camp Nou. President Josep Maria Bartomeu has given the 61-year-old his backing again this week in an interview with Albert Masnou and Javier Giraldo at Sport.
“He’s under contract. When we brought him in, we explained that it was a project for this season and the next one. To judge a coach for a few months, in the middle of a pandemic, is very complicated.”
Bartomeu also dropped another hint that club legend Xavi could be the man to replace Setien when the time comes. He explained: “Xavi will coach Barça one day and he’ll decide when that is.”
Xavi recently signed a one-year contract with Al-Sadd to coach the Qatari side for the 2020-21 season, although if Barcelona need a manager before then they could be tempted to contact Pochettino given his latest comments.