“I have one year left on my contract. “In recent weeks, Mauricio Pochettino repeated himself when talking about his future at the head of Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG). But, in the end, did the interested party believe in this contractual truth and in his chances of remaining the coach of PSG? Did he want it, he who often let his nostalgia for his English years filter through, when he was the courted manager of Tottenham (2014-2019)?

In Paris, his fate had been sealed for a while. The departure of the 50-year-old coach and his technical staff was made official on Tuesday July 5 at midday. “Paris Saint-Germain confirms that it has put an end to its collaboration with Mauricio Pochettino”, was content to write the club, in a terse press release, a few hours before the official announcement of the arrival of Christophe Galtier. In recent days, the lawyers settled the final financial details of this separation.

At the time of farewell, the Argentinian gives the impression of never having lived in the function. When he replaced the German Thomas Tuchel on January 3, 2021, he nevertheless arrived carried by the memory of the courageous former defender of the club (2001-2003) and the promise of a technician with principles and results. At Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino led Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019 and his rating suffered little from his dismissal by the London club six months later.

“They didn’t come looking for us to build a project”

Adept at high pressing and intensity, he demands a lot from his players, like his role model, his compatriot Marcelo Bielsa. This generosity, no one has really noticed in the game of PSG since his arrival, teams most often in “energy saving” mode. As excuses, Mauricio Pochettino pleads the lack of time, recalls his arrival during the season without having had a hand on summer physical preparation.

The Champions League semi-final in 2021 (lost to Manchester City) made us forget the loss of the French championship title to Lille. But the discomfort is already palpable. In the summer of 2021, the Argentinian is even tempted to slip away to Manchester United.

In Paris, he prefers life in a hotel for a year, reluctant to speak French at a press conference. In Spanish or English, he refuses the confrontation, as Thomas Tuchel was able to do, but says nothing or almost.

When he abandons the language of wood in an interview with L’Equipe, in November 2021, it is to assume in a certain way the denial of his principles of play: “They did not come to get us to build a project , asking us what we needed to develop our ideas, or what we like. We came here to adapt and to win,” he said.

When Pochettino dared to replace Messi

Mauricio Pochettino did win a Coupe de France in 2021 and guided his team to the tenth French championship title in its history, on April 23. But at the Parc des Princes, the party is sad that evening, like the draw against Lens (1-1). “We try to have fun, too bad if it’s not with the supporters,” said his captain, Marquinhos, annoyed by the whistles of part of the public.

The improbable elimination against Real Madrid (1-0, 3-1), a month earlier in the knockout stages of the Champions League, still macerates in the minds. On this Madrid night of March 9, Mauricio Pochettino saw his team sink in less than twenty minutes, without giving the impression of having a hold on events. He did not dare to take out a Neymar without gasoline, back from injury, or a Lionel Messi, transparent. Could he?

In his defense, he paid to find out what it cost to show his compatriot the way to the sidelines. Released against Lyon at the start of the season, Leo Messi made his coach understand with a shrug of the shoulder and a strong pout that these things were not being done. The message is well received. “Leo is a champion, a winner, a competitor. It is clear that a player does not like to go out, ”he temporizes, a few days later, at the microphone of France Bleu Paris.

Having become a political trainer in spite of himself, the “Sheriff” (his nickname inherited from his years as a player at Espanyol in Barcelona) has never really laid down the law in town. By dint of composing with his environment, of adapting to his stars, he has lost the thread of his convictions. In his own way, Thomas Tuchel had warned him, in December 2020, three days before his dismissal, in an interview with the German channel Sport 1: “I just like football. And, at a club like this, it’s not always just football. »

The message can also sound like a warning for his successor. On this subject, Luis Campos would lean for another former defender, Christophe Galtier (under contract with Nice). But will the sporting advisor and new PSG strongman have the last word? In this club, the choice of coach is often the prince’s choice.