Pochettino thought the move was Leonardo’s “joke”

Paris Saint Germain Coach Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he believes the club’s sporting director Leonardo was playing a joke on him when he was first told that Lionel messisigning was possible.

Messi joined PSG as a free agent on August 10, a few days later Barcelona announcement they could not register new contract for the six-time Ballon d’Or due to financial constraints.

“Leonardo called me and said, ‘The possibility is there. Do you want it or not? The good thing is that he called me to ask. I said to myself, “Is that a question?” I thought it was a joke, right? Sure, ” Pochettino said.

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“I said, ‘Do we have to go get him? Do I have to drive the van? ‘ And that’s when the negotiation started. From that point on, Leonardo called me every night to tell me how the situation was. “

Messi, 34, had entered into a new five-year contract with Barca, their previous deal expiring on June 30. However, this contract would have meant that Barca’s payroll would amount to 110% of his income.

“Everyone had assumed that Messi would continue at Barcelona,” Pochettino said.

“A lot of clubs, if not all, dreamed of having Messi, with him as a free agent. From the moment PSG showed interest, Leo wanted to come here. Everything happened very quickly. the work done by Leonardo, by our president and all the managers of the club who in two or three days were able to complete the signing of the best player in the world. “

Leonardo, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and club leaders, meanwhile, are still working to convince Kylian Mbappé to stay at the club beyond next summer when his contract expires.

“Who can not think that the PSG would not want him [Mbappe] continue here for many more years? ”Pochettino added.

“The club will try to convince him and seduce him to continue here.”

A long-term goal of real Madrid, Mbappe confirmed he wanted to leave PSG in July, but the League 1 the giants refused to sell it despite knowing the France the forward could sign for a new club on January 1, as he will be a free agent next summer.

Mbappe’s mother, Fayza Lamari, recently said her son is in talks to sign a new agreement with PSG despite strong interest from Madrid.

“He’s clear about things and loves football,” Pochettino said. “He’s 22 years old but is very mature to handle these kinds of situations regarding his future. I have no doubt in my mind that Kylian can meet whatever challenges the future brings.

“You cannot underestimate the football players. 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’re talking about one of the best players in the world. He’s 22 and has great potential. “

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