Interview

Pochettino’s Barcelona return

Mauricio Pochettino’s career has always been closely tied to Barcelona. Now, as he returns to Camp Nou as coach of Paris, he is ready to shock his old rival once again

WORDS Graham Hunter

In order to dominate their blood pressure, stress and mental well-being, football’s leading coaches have long adopted an attitude of: “I can only control what’s in my power to control – don’t ask me about anything else!”

It’s wholly understandable, and a good recipe for focusing on important objectives without distraction. But it doesn’t mean that football doesn’t throw up startling, interesting and romantic twists and turns which not only catch the eye but add mysticism and power to the beauty of this sport we adore so fervently.

Thankfully, Mauricio Pochettino has aromantic, adventurous soul. Meaning he’s often happy to talk about patterns, ideas, philosophical concepts and other “prohibited” subjects for those in his industry who adhere to the “one game at a time and let’s talk about groin strains” school of thought.

It tickled his sense of kismet that his first European test as new coach of Paris Saint-Germain would have to be against Barcelona. Who else? On joining José Antonio Camacho’s Espanyol in Autumn 1994 as a ferocious central defender, his second-ever home match was a city derbi against Johan Cruyff’s Barça.

Once he became Espanyol manager, in January 2009, three of his first seven matches were against Pep Guardiola’s Barça – a draw and narrow defeat home and away in the Copa’s quarter-final plus the Periquitos’ first Liga win at Camp Nou for nearly 30 years.

Where did Spurs, under Pochettino in December 2018 visit on Matchday 6 compelled to earn at least a point to avoid being knocked out – in what would eventually become their only Champions League final season – against a side who’d put four past them in London?

Camp Nou of course!

Which city was home to young Mauricio’s first transatlantic tourism in the early Nineties? You guessed correctly, Barcelona. You don’t see the hand of fate? Well Pochettino does.

Mauricio Pochettino makes his Champions League return at Barcelona (top); Pochettino talks with then Barça coach Pep Guardiola in 2010 while in charge of Espanyol (above)

Admittedly with a generous, smiling disposition he engages with me on the subject. “It’s the universal energy that’s getting me to places I, perhaps unconsciously, want to be – Barcelona. That city … I have to say!

“I mean, I chose Espanyol, when I signed for them in 1994, without knowing much about the club at all, because they were coming up from the second division. Indeed I received many other offers from different places around the world but I chose Espanyol because of Barcelona the city. Because in 1992, before the Olympic Games, I visited Barcelona and I simply fell in love with that city. You can also say that, right?” he asks, knowing I live in the Catalan capital. “Barcelona is a unique city, with which it’s hard not to fall in love when you first arrive there.

“In fact, when I got married to my wife in 1993, I told her, ‘It’s my dream to take you to Barcelona.’ One year later, there’s an offer from Espanyol and so I decided: ‘I don’t care about anything, I don’t care about money, I want to play for Espanyol because I want to live in Barcelona!’

“Of course, since then I fell in love with Espanyol as a club and eventually, when you have children and your family is there, those ties to such a city grow even stronger. So it might seem like a coincidence [playing Barça so early in his Parisian reign] but I think it’s like you said: it’s my destiny to meet over and over again with this city.”

But, by Tuesday, every last vestige of romanticism and kismetology will have been expunged from the Argentinian’s mindset. He has been employed to win the Champions League; he has inherited a squad capable of doing so. Visiting Barcelona is to do damage to their season, not to breathe the Catalan air and feel heart-string tugs.

More, he’s facing an old rival from that very first Catalàn Derbi for Espanyol in the shape of Ronald Koeman.

Only in his current job a few months more than Pochettino, Barcelona’s former goal-scoring sweeper has impressed his adversary. “I’ve watched Barcelona’s entire evolution, initially from my home in London when Ronald took over,” Pochettino says. “It’s clear that the team is moving to a different stage, a different chapter. Ronald joined with a different project in mind so as soon as he came in, he started working to get the best performance out of his team in a particular way. Now, after seven months, Ronald has put his ideas in practice and the team knows best what’s expected by the coach.

“I think that’s an advantage. I see a solid team with some clear ideas and amazing football players. They’re a team that knows how to compete, a team that’s built to win. Barcelona’s mindset is built to win like big clubs: like PSG which is also a team which wants to compete and win. At PSG there’s no choice other than winning.”

Read our full interview with Maurico Pochettino in issue 6 of Champions Journal which is out soon.

In order to dominate their blood pressure, stress and mental well-being, football’s leading coaches have long adopted an attitude of: “I can only control what’s in my power to control – don’t ask me about anything else!”

It’s wholly understandable, and a good recipe for focusing on important objectives without distraction. But it doesn’t mean that football doesn’t throw up startling, interesting and romantic twists and turns which not only catch the eye but add mysticism and power to the beauty of this sport we adore so fervently.

Thankfully, Mauricio Pochettino has aromantic, adventurous soul. Meaning he’s often happy to talk about patterns, ideas, philosophical concepts and other “prohibited” subjects for those in his industry who adhere to the “one game at a time and let’s talk about groin strains” school of thought.

It tickled his sense of kismet that his first European test as new coach of Paris Saint-Germain would have to be against Barcelona. Who else? On joining José Antonio Camacho’s Espanyol in Autumn 1994 as a ferocious central defender, his second-ever home match was a city derbi against Johan Cruyff’s Barça.

Once he became Espanyol manager, in January 2009, three of his first seven matches were against Pep Guardiola’s Barça – a draw and narrow defeat home and away in the Copa’s quarter-final plus the Periquitos’ first Liga win at Camp Nou for nearly 30 years.

Where did Spurs, under Pochettino in December 2018 visit on Matchday 6 compelled to earn at least a point to avoid being knocked out – in what would eventually become their only Champions League final season – against a side who’d put four past them in London?

Camp Nou of course!

Which city was home to young Mauricio’s first transatlantic tourism in the early Nineties? You guessed correctly, Barcelona. You don’t see the hand of fate? Well Pochettino does.

Mauricio Pochettino makes his Champions League return at Barcelona (top); Pochettino talks with then Barça coach Pep Guardiola in 2010 while in charge of Espanyol (above)

Admittedly with a generous, smiling disposition he engages with me on the subject. “It’s the universal energy that’s getting me to places I, perhaps unconsciously, want to be – Barcelona. That city … I have to say!

“I mean, I chose Espanyol, when I signed for them in 1994, without knowing much about the club at all, because they were coming up from the second division. Indeed I received many other offers from different places around the world but I chose Espanyol because of Barcelona the city. Because in 1992, before the Olympic Games, I visited Barcelona and I simply fell in love with that city. You can also say that, right?” he asks, knowing I live in the Catalan capital. “Barcelona is a unique city, with which it’s hard not to fall in love when you first arrive there.

“In fact, when I got married to my wife in 1993, I told her, ‘It’s my dream to take you to Barcelona.’ One year later, there’s an offer from Espanyol and so I decided: ‘I don’t care about anything, I don’t care about money, I want to play for Espanyol because I want to live in Barcelona!’

“Of course, since then I fell in love with Espanyol as a club and eventually, when you have children and your family is there, those ties to such a city grow even stronger. So it might seem like a coincidence [playing Barça so early in his Parisian reign] but I think it’s like you said: it’s my destiny to meet over and over again with this city.”

But, by Tuesday, every last vestige of romanticism and kismetology will have been expunged from the Argentinian’s mindset. He has been employed to win the Champions League; he has inherited a squad capable of doing so. Visiting Barcelona is to do damage to their season, not to breathe the Catalan air and feel heart-string tugs.

More, he’s facing an old rival from that very first Catalàn Derbi for Espanyol in the shape of Ronald Koeman.

Only in his current job a few months more than Pochettino, Barcelona’s former goal-scoring sweeper has impressed his adversary. “I’ve watched Barcelona’s entire evolution, initially from my home in London when Ronald took over,” Pochettino says. “It’s clear that the team is moving to a different stage, a different chapter. Ronald joined with a different project in mind so as soon as he came in, he started working to get the best performance out of his team in a particular way. Now, after seven months, Ronald has put his ideas in practice and the team knows best what’s expected by the coach.

“I think that’s an advantage. I see a solid team with some clear ideas and amazing football players. They’re a team that knows how to compete, a team that’s built to win. Barcelona’s mindset is built to win like big clubs: like PSG which is also a team which wants to compete and win. At PSG there’s no choice other than winning.”

Read our full interview with Maurico Pochettino in issue 6 of Champions Journal which is out soon.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

In order to dominate their blood pressure, stress and mental well-being, football’s leading coaches have long adopted an attitude of: “I can only control what’s in my power to control – don’t ask me about anything else!”

It’s wholly understandable, and a good recipe for focusing on important objectives without distraction. But it doesn’t mean that football doesn’t throw up startling, interesting and romantic twists and turns which not only catch the eye but add mysticism and power to the beauty of this sport we adore so fervently.

Thankfully, Mauricio Pochettino has aromantic, adventurous soul. Meaning he’s often happy to talk about patterns, ideas, philosophical concepts and other “prohibited” subjects for those in his industry who adhere to the “one game at a time and let’s talk about groin strains” school of thought.

It tickled his sense of kismet that his first European test as new coach of Paris Saint-Germain would have to be against Barcelona. Who else? On joining José Antonio Camacho’s Espanyol in Autumn 1994 as a ferocious central defender, his second-ever home match was a city derbi against Johan Cruyff’s Barça.

Once he became Espanyol manager, in January 2009, three of his first seven matches were against Pep Guardiola’s Barça – a draw and narrow defeat home and away in the Copa’s quarter-final plus the Periquitos’ first Liga win at Camp Nou for nearly 30 years.

Where did Spurs, under Pochettino in December 2018 visit on Matchday 6 compelled to earn at least a point to avoid being knocked out – in what would eventually become their only Champions League final season – against a side who’d put four past them in London?

Camp Nou of course!

Which city was home to young Mauricio’s first transatlantic tourism in the early Nineties? You guessed correctly, Barcelona. You don’t see the hand of fate? Well Pochettino does.

Mauricio Pochettino makes his Champions League return at Barcelona (top); Pochettino talks with then Barça coach Pep Guardiola in 2010 while in charge of Espanyol (above)

Admittedly with a generous, smiling disposition he engages with me on the subject. “It’s the universal energy that’s getting me to places I, perhaps unconsciously, want to be – Barcelona. That city … I have to say!

“I mean, I chose Espanyol, when I signed for them in 1994, without knowing much about the club at all, because they were coming up from the second division. Indeed I received many other offers from different places around the world but I chose Espanyol because of Barcelona the city. Because in 1992, before the Olympic Games, I visited Barcelona and I simply fell in love with that city. You can also say that, right?” he asks, knowing I live in the Catalan capital. “Barcelona is a unique city, with which it’s hard not to fall in love when you first arrive there.

“In fact, when I got married to my wife in 1993, I told her, ‘It’s my dream to take you to Barcelona.’ One year later, there’s an offer from Espanyol and so I decided: ‘I don’t care about anything, I don’t care about money, I want to play for Espanyol because I want to live in Barcelona!’

“Of course, since then I fell in love with Espanyol as a club and eventually, when you have children and your family is there, those ties to such a city grow even stronger. So it might seem like a coincidence [playing Barça so early in his Parisian reign] but I think it’s like you said: it’s my destiny to meet over and over again with this city.”

But, by Tuesday, every last vestige of romanticism and kismetology will have been expunged from the Argentinian’s mindset. He has been employed to win the Champions League; he has inherited a squad capable of doing so. Visiting Barcelona is to do damage to their season, not to breathe the Catalan air and feel heart-string tugs.

More, he’s facing an old rival from that very first Catalàn Derbi for Espanyol in the shape of Ronald Koeman.

Only in his current job a few months more than Pochettino, Barcelona’s former goal-scoring sweeper has impressed his adversary. “I’ve watched Barcelona’s entire evolution, initially from my home in London when Ronald took over,” Pochettino says. “It’s clear that the team is moving to a different stage, a different chapter. Ronald joined with a different project in mind so as soon as he came in, he started working to get the best performance out of his team in a particular way. Now, after seven months, Ronald has put his ideas in practice and the team knows best what’s expected by the coach.

“I think that’s an advantage. I see a solid team with some clear ideas and amazing football players. They’re a team that knows how to compete, a team that’s built to win. Barcelona’s mindset is built to win like big clubs: like PSG which is also a team which wants to compete and win. At PSG there’s no choice other than winning.”

Read our full interview with Maurico Pochettino in issue 6 of Champions Journal which is out soon.

Pochettino’s Barcelona return
Interview

Pochettino’s Barcelona return

Mauricio Pochettino’s career has always been closely tied to Barcelona. Now, as he returns to Camp Nou as coach of Paris, he is ready to shock his old rival once again

WORDS Graham Hunter

In order to dominate their blood pressure, stress and mental well-being, football’s leading coaches have long adopted an attitude of: “I can only control what’s in my power to control – don’t ask me about anything else!”

It’s wholly understandable, and a good recipe for focusing on important objectives without distraction. But it doesn’t mean that football doesn’t throw up startling, interesting and romantic twists and turns which not only catch the eye but add mysticism and power to the beauty of this sport we adore so fervently.

Thankfully, Mauricio Pochettino has aromantic, adventurous soul. Meaning he’s often happy to talk about patterns, ideas, philosophical concepts and other “prohibited” subjects for those in his industry who adhere to the “one game at a time and let’s talk about groin strains” school of thought.

It tickled his sense of kismet that his first European test as new coach of Paris Saint-Germain would have to be against Barcelona. Who else? On joining José Antonio Camacho’s Espanyol in Autumn 1994 as a ferocious central defender, his second-ever home match was a city derbi against Johan Cruyff’s Barça.

Once he became Espanyol manager, in January 2009, three of his first seven matches were against Pep Guardiola’s Barça – a draw and narrow defeat home and away in the Copa’s quarter-final plus the Periquitos’ first Liga win at Camp Nou for nearly 30 years.

Where did Spurs, under Pochettino in December 2018 visit on Matchday 6 compelled to earn at least a point to avoid being knocked out – in what would eventually become their only Champions League final season – against a side who’d put four past them in London?

Camp Nou of course!

Which city was home to young Mauricio’s first transatlantic tourism in the early Nineties? You guessed correctly, Barcelona. You don’t see the hand of fate? Well Pochettino does.

Mauricio Pochettino makes his Champions League return at Barcelona (top); Pochettino talks with then Barça coach Pep Guardiola in 2010 while in charge of Espanyol (above)

Admittedly with a generous, smiling disposition he engages with me on the subject. “It’s the universal energy that’s getting me to places I, perhaps unconsciously, want to be – Barcelona. That city … I have to say!

“I mean, I chose Espanyol, when I signed for them in 1994, without knowing much about the club at all, because they were coming up from the second division. Indeed I received many other offers from different places around the world but I chose Espanyol because of Barcelona the city. Because in 1992, before the Olympic Games, I visited Barcelona and I simply fell in love with that city. You can also say that, right?” he asks, knowing I live in the Catalan capital. “Barcelona is a unique city, with which it’s hard not to fall in love when you first arrive there.

“In fact, when I got married to my wife in 1993, I told her, ‘It’s my dream to take you to Barcelona.’ One year later, there’s an offer from Espanyol and so I decided: ‘I don’t care about anything, I don’t care about money, I want to play for Espanyol because I want to live in Barcelona!’

“Of course, since then I fell in love with Espanyol as a club and eventually, when you have children and your family is there, those ties to such a city grow even stronger. So it might seem like a coincidence [playing Barça so early in his Parisian reign] but I think it’s like you said: it’s my destiny to meet over and over again with this city.”

But, by Tuesday, every last vestige of romanticism and kismetology will have been expunged from the Argentinian’s mindset. He has been employed to win the Champions League; he has inherited a squad capable of doing so. Visiting Barcelona is to do damage to their season, not to breathe the Catalan air and feel heart-string tugs.

More, he’s facing an old rival from that very first Catalàn Derbi for Espanyol in the shape of Ronald Koeman.

Only in his current job a few months more than Pochettino, Barcelona’s former goal-scoring sweeper has impressed his adversary. “I’ve watched Barcelona’s entire evolution, initially from my home in London when Ronald took over,” Pochettino says. “It’s clear that the team is moving to a different stage, a different chapter. Ronald joined with a different project in mind so as soon as he came in, he started working to get the best performance out of his team in a particular way. Now, after seven months, Ronald has put his ideas in practice and the team knows best what’s expected by the coach.

“I think that’s an advantage. I see a solid team with some clear ideas and amazing football players. They’re a team that knows how to compete, a team that’s built to win. Barcelona’s mindset is built to win like big clubs: like PSG which is also a team which wants to compete and win. At PSG there’s no choice other than winning.”

Read our full interview with Maurico Pochettino in issue 6 of Champions Journal which is out soon.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

In order to dominate their blood pressure, stress and mental well-being, football’s leading coaches have long adopted an attitude of: “I can only control what’s in my power to control – don’t ask me about anything else!”

It’s wholly understandable, and a good recipe for focusing on important objectives without distraction. But it doesn’t mean that football doesn’t throw up startling, interesting and romantic twists and turns which not only catch the eye but add mysticism and power to the beauty of this sport we adore so fervently.

Thankfully, Mauricio Pochettino has aromantic, adventurous soul. Meaning he’s often happy to talk about patterns, ideas, philosophical concepts and other “prohibited” subjects for those in his industry who adhere to the “one game at a time and let’s talk about groin strains” school of thought.

It tickled his sense of kismet that his first European test as new coach of Paris Saint-Germain would have to be against Barcelona. Who else? On joining José Antonio Camacho’s Espanyol in Autumn 1994 as a ferocious central defender, his second-ever home match was a city derbi against Johan Cruyff’s Barça.

Once he became Espanyol manager, in January 2009, three of his first seven matches were against Pep Guardiola’s Barça – a draw and narrow defeat home and away in the Copa’s quarter-final plus the Periquitos’ first Liga win at Camp Nou for nearly 30 years.

Where did Spurs, under Pochettino in December 2018 visit on Matchday 6 compelled to earn at least a point to avoid being knocked out – in what would eventually become their only Champions League final season – against a side who’d put four past them in London?

Camp Nou of course!

Which city was home to young Mauricio’s first transatlantic tourism in the early Nineties? You guessed correctly, Barcelona. You don’t see the hand of fate? Well Pochettino does.

Mauricio Pochettino makes his Champions League return at Barcelona (top); Pochettino talks with then Barça coach Pep Guardiola in 2010 while in charge of Espanyol (above)

Admittedly with a generous, smiling disposition he engages with me on the subject. “It’s the universal energy that’s getting me to places I, perhaps unconsciously, want to be – Barcelona. That city … I have to say!

“I mean, I chose Espanyol, when I signed for them in 1994, without knowing much about the club at all, because they were coming up from the second division. Indeed I received many other offers from different places around the world but I chose Espanyol because of Barcelona the city. Because in 1992, before the Olympic Games, I visited Barcelona and I simply fell in love with that city. You can also say that, right?” he asks, knowing I live in the Catalan capital. “Barcelona is a unique city, with which it’s hard not to fall in love when you first arrive there.

“In fact, when I got married to my wife in 1993, I told her, ‘It’s my dream to take you to Barcelona.’ One year later, there’s an offer from Espanyol and so I decided: ‘I don’t care about anything, I don’t care about money, I want to play for Espanyol because I want to live in Barcelona!’

“Of course, since then I fell in love with Espanyol as a club and eventually, when you have children and your family is there, those ties to such a city grow even stronger. So it might seem like a coincidence [playing Barça so early in his Parisian reign] but I think it’s like you said: it’s my destiny to meet over and over again with this city.”

But, by Tuesday, every last vestige of romanticism and kismetology will have been expunged from the Argentinian’s mindset. He has been employed to win the Champions League; he has inherited a squad capable of doing so. Visiting Barcelona is to do damage to their season, not to breathe the Catalan air and feel heart-string tugs.

More, he’s facing an old rival from that very first Catalàn Derbi for Espanyol in the shape of Ronald Koeman.

Only in his current job a few months more than Pochettino, Barcelona’s former goal-scoring sweeper has impressed his adversary. “I’ve watched Barcelona’s entire evolution, initially from my home in London when Ronald took over,” Pochettino says. “It’s clear that the team is moving to a different stage, a different chapter. Ronald joined with a different project in mind so as soon as he came in, he started working to get the best performance out of his team in a particular way. Now, after seven months, Ronald has put his ideas in practice and the team knows best what’s expected by the coach.

“I think that’s an advantage. I see a solid team with some clear ideas and amazing football players. They’re a team that knows how to compete, a team that’s built to win. Barcelona’s mindset is built to win like big clubs: like PSG which is also a team which wants to compete and win. At PSG there’s no choice other than winning.”

Read our full interview with Maurico Pochettino in issue 6 of Champions Journal which is out soon.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

In order to dominate their blood pressure, stress and mental well-being, football’s leading coaches have long adopted an attitude of: “I can only control what’s in my power to control – don’t ask me about anything else!”

It’s wholly understandable, and a good recipe for focusing on important objectives without distraction. But it doesn’t mean that football doesn’t throw up startling, interesting and romantic twists and turns which not only catch the eye but add mysticism and power to the beauty of this sport we adore so fervently.

Thankfully, Mauricio Pochettino has aromantic, adventurous soul. Meaning he’s often happy to talk about patterns, ideas, philosophical concepts and other “prohibited” subjects for those in his industry who adhere to the “one game at a time and let’s talk about groin strains” school of thought.

It tickled his sense of kismet that his first European test as new coach of Paris Saint-Germain would have to be against Barcelona. Who else? On joining José Antonio Camacho’s Espanyol in Autumn 1994 as a ferocious central defender, his second-ever home match was a city derbi against Johan Cruyff’s Barça.

Once he became Espanyol manager, in January 2009, three of his first seven matches were against Pep Guardiola’s Barça – a draw and narrow defeat home and away in the Copa’s quarter-final plus the Periquitos’ first Liga win at Camp Nou for nearly 30 years.

Where did Spurs, under Pochettino in December 2018 visit on Matchday 6 compelled to earn at least a point to avoid being knocked out – in what would eventually become their only Champions League final season – against a side who’d put four past them in London?

Camp Nou of course!

Which city was home to young Mauricio’s first transatlantic tourism in the early Nineties? You guessed correctly, Barcelona. You don’t see the hand of fate? Well Pochettino does.

Mauricio Pochettino makes his Champions League return at Barcelona (top); Pochettino talks with then Barça coach Pep Guardiola in 2010 while in charge of Espanyol (above)

Admittedly with a generous, smiling disposition he engages with me on the subject. “It’s the universal energy that’s getting me to places I, perhaps unconsciously, want to be – Barcelona. That city … I have to say!

“I mean, I chose Espanyol, when I signed for them in 1994, without knowing much about the club at all, because they were coming up from the second division. Indeed I received many other offers from different places around the world but I chose Espanyol because of Barcelona the city. Because in 1992, before the Olympic Games, I visited Barcelona and I simply fell in love with that city. You can also say that, right?” he asks, knowing I live in the Catalan capital. “Barcelona is a unique city, with which it’s hard not to fall in love when you first arrive there.

“In fact, when I got married to my wife in 1993, I told her, ‘It’s my dream to take you to Barcelona.’ One year later, there’s an offer from Espanyol and so I decided: ‘I don’t care about anything, I don’t care about money, I want to play for Espanyol because I want to live in Barcelona!’

“Of course, since then I fell in love with Espanyol as a club and eventually, when you have children and your family is there, those ties to such a city grow even stronger. So it might seem like a coincidence [playing Barça so early in his Parisian reign] but I think it’s like you said: it’s my destiny to meet over and over again with this city.”

But, by Tuesday, every last vestige of romanticism and kismetology will have been expunged from the Argentinian’s mindset. He has been employed to win the Champions League; he has inherited a squad capable of doing so. Visiting Barcelona is to do damage to their season, not to breathe the Catalan air and feel heart-string tugs.

More, he’s facing an old rival from that very first Catalàn Derbi for Espanyol in the shape of Ronald Koeman.

Only in his current job a few months more than Pochettino, Barcelona’s former goal-scoring sweeper has impressed his adversary. “I’ve watched Barcelona’s entire evolution, initially from my home in London when Ronald took over,” Pochettino says. “It’s clear that the team is moving to a different stage, a different chapter. Ronald joined with a different project in mind so as soon as he came in, he started working to get the best performance out of his team in a particular way. Now, after seven months, Ronald has put his ideas in practice and the team knows best what’s expected by the coach.

“I think that’s an advantage. I see a solid team with some clear ideas and amazing football players. They’re a team that knows how to compete, a team that’s built to win. Barcelona’s mindset is built to win like big clubs: like PSG which is also a team which wants to compete and win. At PSG there’s no choice other than winning.”

Read our full interview with Maurico Pochettino in issue 6 of Champions Journal which is out soon.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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