Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that his former club Espanyol came close to signing Barcelona striker Leo Messi during the 2004-05 season, reports Team Talk.
“We were close at Espanyol to signing Lionel Messi, this was true. A centimetre away. Unbelievable, but this was true. Messi was 17 years-old in the 2004/05 season, playing Under-18s and was very close to signing for Espanyol,” the Spurs boss told the British media on Sunday. “It was close but it never happened.” Pochettino, who played for Espanyol from 2004 – 2006, and was appointed manager of the Spanish club in 2009.
“In football it’s always ‘if, if, if’ but it’s about reality, it’s not about maybe what could have happened,” he added.
It’s interesting to think how Messi’s career would have developed if the Espanyol transfer had gone through. It has not just been his talent and amazing ability in the factoring the Argentine’s greatness, but Barcelona’s academy and attitude towards young players. World football could get another example of the legendary Salvadoran frontman Magico Gonzalez, who spent most of his career at lowly Spanish club Cadiz, after his was touted as a potential superstar.
Poch also took a swipe at former Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers over the signing of young England midfielder Dele Alli.
“Do you know how many players in football are close to signing for many clubs. Dele Alli, it’s impossible to speak about that because maybe different clubs were close to signing Dele Alli, it’s like Harry Kane, it’s like different players, it’s only one comment from some manager. Dele Alli is now here,” the Argentine said.
Despite Pochettino’s quotes, there always a danger of losing key players to bigger European clubs, fans will remember the ‘Curious Cases’ of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric.
However the London club are enjoying a perfect season so far, sitting fourth in the Premier League table, they are very close to making their Champions League dreams come true.