Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has asserted that his roots and allegiance to Espanyol will prevent him from taking the manager job at FC Barcelona.
Current Barca coach Luis Enrique had announced his departure from Nou Camp in the coming summer, with Pochettino being linked as one of the potential candidates to replace him at the helm of FC Barcelona.
The links was ignited this week as when he was spotted in a Barcelona bar with the Barca club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
However, the 45-year-old Argentine insisted that it was a chance meeting and that his Espanyol origins — having both played for and managed the club — would prevent him from going to Barca due to the cross-town rivalry between the two clubs, and by the same token, he could never imagine himself working at Arsenal, Tottenham’s own neighbouring rivals.
“It was a coincidence in a bar in Barcelona last Tuesday,” Pochettino said. “I know him [Bartomeu] for a long time – before he became chairman of Barcelona. Our children went to the same school in Barcelona. We spent five minutes together. That was the reality. After that you know the rumour is impossible to stop.”
“But I am an Espanyol supporter. I don’t think I need to speak too much. It’s like if one day [the Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy sacked me – in a few years it would be impossible for me to manage Arsenal. In football I know it is so difficult to keep your values and to be loyal – with your heart and emotion.”
“For me before being a manager, before being a player, being loyal is more important. I am an Espanyol fan. I love Espanyol. It’s like Tottenham for me now. It will be impossible, one day, to move to Arsenal. It will be impossible.”