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Lionel Messi's new boss admitted he thought he was being pranked when he was told the soccer icon would sign for PSG

Insider
Insider
 2021-10-14
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Pochettino became the PSG coach in January.
  • The head coach of PSG thought he was being pranked when he was told Lionel Messi might be joining his club.
  • "I thought it was a joke," PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino said in an interview.
  • Messi signed for Paris Saint-Germain in a sensational transfer during the summer.

Lionel Messi's new boss at Paris Saint-Germain has admitted he thought he was having a trick pulled on him when he was asked if he would like to sign one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

The Argentine legend made the swap from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer after his former club could not find the money to renew his contract.

But when PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino first heard it was a possibility, he thought it was a joke.

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Messi was the surprise move of the summer.

"[PSG sporting director] 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," Pochettino told Spanish radio show El Partidazo de COPE.

"I said to myself: 'Is it a question?' I thought it was a joke, no?" - he continued.

"Of course," Pochettino said he replied to Leonardo when he realized he wasn't being pranked.

Messi is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest players in soccer history. The 34-year-old has won a record six Ballons d'Or, and scored 474 league goals at Barcelona.

Pochettino said that he offered to go and personally pick Messi up when he learned that Leonardo was not, in fact, joking.

"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.

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Messi left Barcelona after the club ran out of money.

"From then on Leonardo would call me every night to tell me how the situation was."

Messi had agreed to stay at Barcelona, but the club's financial difficulties meant there was no way to keep him without breaking salary limits in Spain's La Liga.

"Everyone had assumed that Messi would continue at Barcelona," Pochettino said. "Many clubs, if not all clubs, dreamed of having Messi, with him being a free agent.

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Messi has scored just one goal for the French side so far.

"From the moment that PSG showed an interest, Leo wanted to come here. Everything happened very fast.

"We must highlight the work done by Leonardo, by our president and all the club executives that in two or three days were able to complete the signing of the best player in the world."

Messi has made three Ligue 1 appearances for PSG this season but has yet to score.

He did, however, open his account for PSG in the Champions League when he netted against his former coach Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side.

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