Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has stepped back from suggestions he could never manage Barcelona because of his allegiances to their rivals Espanyol.
Pochettino spent eight years playing for Espanyol, Barca’s city rivals, before also coaching the team between 2009 and 2012.
The Argentinian was quoted in January as saying he was “born with a bull in his arm”, taken to mean he could never manage at the Nou Camp, but Pochettino was keen to correct that interpretation on Friday.
The Spurs boss insisted he had instead said he was born with a “ball in his arm”, as a metaphor for him understanding how football works.
Barcelona’s current manager Luis Enrique has announced he will leave at the end of the season and Pochettino has been linked with taking over this summer.
“I saw. It’s a big list, 100 names,” Pochettino said. “It’s like if I left there would be a list of 50 names to replace me. That’s the business I know very well. I am born, not with the bull but a ball in my arms, I understand very well the business.”
Asked to explain his reference to “the bull”, Pochettino said: “Only I try to explain I know very well the business of football.
“When I was born it was true my mum and my dad put the ball, not the bull, but a football in my arms. It’s a metaphorical example to say I understand that business, that my name will be on a list. I think you cannot explain any more.”
Pochettino certainly did not rule out a move to Barcelona but also insisted he was happy at Tottenham, with whom he signed a five-year contract last year.
“I understand I am at one of the biggest clubs in Europe, Tottenham is one of those,” Pochettino said. “We are in a position where you can see we play good football, an exciting team with very good players, but it’s normal we call the attention of the rest of the clubs, of football people around the world.
“We are one of the exciting teams to watch. I don’t think about being flattered. We are part of that business and our name appears on the list.”