Paris [France], September 13 (ANI): Mauricio Pochettino admits he never thought it was possible to sign Lionel Messi, but the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) boss is now expecting the Argentine to produce his best for the Ligue 1 giants.
The six-times Ballon d'Or winner left FC Barcelona as a free agent after the Spanish club announced that "financial and structural obstacles" meant the deal between them and Messi could not be completed. Messi then went on to sign with French heavyweights PSG.
Hired as coach of Paris Saint-Germain in January 2021, Mauricio Pochettino took the capital club all the way to last season's UEFA Champions League semi-finals, before losing out to Manchester City. Talking with uefa.com about Lionel Messi, Pochettino said: "I may not be the most appropriate person to describe him. There are many more people who have a wider vocabulary to describe him closer to the reality Leo deserves. He will always be considered among the best in the world. Since he arrived, he has really adapted very quickly and he's been training very well, trying to achieve his highest level as soon as possible to compete at his best."
"I didn't think it was possible [that he would sign for us], and when an opportunity appears and everything goes so fast, you can't immediately process it. However, there's that connection: we both are Argentinian, we both support Newell's [Old Boys], we both come from Rosario. I have also admired him for a long time when facing him as an opponent, so having him now training with us is really nice. We hope that, together, we will be able to achieve what the club desires," the 49-year-old former Tottenham manager added.
Lionel Messi arrived at PSG after the club had already signed Achraf Hakimi from Inter, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer. Talking about team building, the PSG boss said: "We think that all the players can be compatible, that we can create a really good group to work with. A group in which respect is the keyword."
"We have a group in which most of the players deserve to be starters, but unfortunately only 11 can start. And those who don't play will have to support the team and work in order to play the next game and show that they also have the level to compete," he added.
PSG, with Messi and Neymar back at their disposal, are set to open their Champions League group stage campaign for 2021-22 on Wednesday away at Club Brugge. (ANI)