Eric Abidal reveals joke that cost Pochettino the Barcelona job

Eric Abidal has revealed that a joke made by Mauricio Pochettino ruled him out of contention for the Barcelona job in the eyes of some board members.

Pochettino, who played for and managed city rivals Espanyol, said back in 2017 that it was “impossible” for him to manage Barcelona in the future.

Whilst in charge of Tottenham Hotspur, he said that he would never coach Barcelona or Arsenal. He said he would rather work on his farm in Argentina than “in certain places“.

With that in mind, whether he would have entertained any approach from Barca is unknown.

What is clear is that Abidal, who was director of football at Barcelona until last year, wanted Pochettino at Barcelona. However, the 49-year-old’s previous comments didn’t sit well with some of the club’s board members.

Abidal told the Daily Telegraph: “I knew there was a political problem because I gave my argument to the board and some answers were focused on Espanyol and not on the technical part.

“And I think he did an interview many years ago, I will not say he talked bad about the club, he said something about going to Argentina first before he will train Barcelona.

“This was a problem for some people’s egos and they said ‘no, because he’s not respecting our club’.

“I told the board: ‘I have to bring the best coach we can in the market. I’m not here for politics because he was before in Espanyol’.

“For me, it’s not politics.

“I wanted the best and Pochettino is one of the best in our game.”

Pochettino’s triumph over Barcelona

Over a year after leaving Spurs, Pochettino was appointed as Paris Saint Germain manager in January.

He has since guided the club to the top of Ligue 1. His biggest achievement so far, though, is knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage.

PSG secured an emphatic 4-1 victory at the Nou Camp to essentially end the tie in the first leg. Kylian Mbappe was unstoppable on the night, whilst Barca’s defensive frailities were exposed.

Ronald Koeman’s men put in an improved performance in the second leg, but the damage had already been done.

PSG take on Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, in a repeat of last season’s final.

Pochettino won the Trophee des Champions in January – his first trophy in club management. The Argentinian could realistically end up with four honours to his name come May.

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