As an ex-Espanyol man, Mauricio Pochettino’s feelings towards Barcelona would always have been that they were the Periquitos ultimate rival.
Those feelings appear to have surfaced again ahead of what’s expected to be an epic Champions League tie between the Argentinian’s new side, Paris Saint-Germain, and the Catalans.
The narrative makes the tie interesting from every single standpoint.
The last time that the French side were at the Camp Nou, for example, they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, allowing a 4-0 first leg lead to evaporate by losing 6-1 in the second.
That night, back in 2017, should prove the main motivating factor on this occasion, given that Neymar, who it was believed was very much looking forward to a reunion with his former club, has been ruled out with injury along with Angel di Maria.
Pochettino, meanwhile, is having none of Barca’s apparent outrage over perceived comments made that indicate his club would like to sign, and their players would like to play with, Lionel Messi for next season.
“I understand that you should talk as little as possible about a player who is not in your team but that is not only applicable for PSG, but for all teams to carry out their transfer strategies and for are players who are ending their contract,” he said on the El Transistor programme on Onda Cero, cited by Football Espana.
“From Paris, no one has been disrespected. For a player to express a desire that he would like to play in the same team with another player, it seems to me to be valid.
“Many Barca players expressed their desire for Neymar to return.”
It’s yet another strand that will light the blue touch paper in the lead up to the match.