Paris boss Mauricio Pochettino on Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi
Monday, September 13, 2021
Paris' Argentinian boss introduces UEFA.com to his side's stellar summer signings.
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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.
The pressure is now on for the 49-year-old former Tottenham manager as he looks to incorporate some stellar summer signings into his squad, but the Argentinian – who spent over two years at Paris as a player in the 2000s – tells UEFA.com he is up for the challenge as he introduces his new players.
On Lionel Messi
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.
On Sergio Ramos
Sergio is also a player that we think can, given the possibility, convey his experience, his competitiveness. He's a player that has also won everything, just like Leo. It's good having him at the club for all that he can share with his team-mates: all that experience he gained at Real Madrid.
On Georginio Wijnaldum
He's been captain of the Netherlands national team, he won everything at Liverpool, but he still has a lot of football left to play. He can play in several positions, but without losing his competitiveness, deeply understanding the game, deploying a great level in terms of technique and [strength].
On Gianluigi Donnarumma
We have already seen him crowned EURO 2020 Player of the Tournament and winning EURO 2020 with Italy. I think that his profile as a goalkeeper and his age make him one of the best goalkeepers in the world, right?
On Achraf Hakimi
Achraf is a young player [I have] been following since [I was] at Tottenham. We were on the edge of signing him for Tottenham, but then he went to play for Dortmund. He has a great capacity to run, his physical potential is huge. He is young, he's maturing at the defensive level, but he makes a lot of contributions in attack.
On making a team
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.
On the Champions League
This is a really [unpredictable] competition, but one of the most attractive in the world to play. However, you need to be lucky [to win it]. Because all the teams participating in the Champions League are strong, and all over Europe – England, Spain, Italy, even Germany and also France – great investments have been made to be able to win it.
There isn't anything better than being part of it. When the staff think about this [competition], we always say that we have the responsibility, the pressure, but we are also the ones that have the chance to be part of history, to live this experience and we are going to enjoy it.