The Parc des Princes and the Jean-Bouin stadium are neighbors. And since the start of the year, PSG and Stade Français have also been linked by the nationality of their coach. Mauricio Pochettino (48 years old), born in Murphy and Gonzalo Quesada (46 years old), born in Buenos Aires. The latter agreed to tell about a manager whom he feels close to.
Have you met Mauricio Pochettino already?
GONZALO QUESADA. Yes, we traded once or twice in the locker room at Parc des Princes when he was a PSG player. At the time, in the early 2000s, I had just arrived in France, in Narbonne, whose president was Alain de Pouzilhac. He was a real PSG fan, with his son Edouard. He ran Euro RSCG where I went up to do internships when I had free time. As they were friends of Alain Cayzac, I found myself very often at the Park where I met the small group of Argentines at the time: Cardetti, Heinze and therefore Mauricio.
When he became a coach at Espanyol Barcelona in 2009, a year after your debut in the staff of the XV of France, did you continue to follow him?
Absolutely. At Espanyol, then at Southampton and Tottenham. Profiles like his or that of Marcelo Bielsa, as soon as there is a report or they make a book, I get interested. I like to know their thoughts, their vision. I like Pochettino’s style, his management principles, what he gives off, what he does with his teams. There are a lot of points on which I feel that we have similar visions.
First in the game, on the management of details, with a very professional staff and preparation with great precision. And then a human management by trying to be interested in the men, to create healthy, transparent, honest groups where we can also live beautiful adventures.
What do you think of the challenge that awaits him at PSG?
This is the first time that he has had such a stable in his hands, with such great players to train. It is not the same. What I really appreciated about my experiences at Stade Français is that when you have to manage great international players, it really forces you to bring out the best of you. For him, it’s going to be a big challenge.
Are you curious to know how he will fare with the stars of the Parisian locker room?
If what I perceive of him is true, I am convinced that he will succeed. Because today, in all sports, great players expect their coach to be the best example of everything he demands. They will look at it and say: “Well, you ask for work, for the requirement, show us that you are preparing yourself, that you are working in the details, that you are demanding with yourself. “In that sense and given his skills, I think Mauricio will win the respect of the players. When they watch him, they will find a guy who works hard, who is as demanding with himself as with them and who shows that he has knowledge.
The human aspect also seems important for him …
He is right because without a united group, it is difficult to live great stories, even if we have some of the best players in the world, like at PSG. The players will see that there is a real human depth, that he tries to make this group operate with respect for everyone.
Why are you so confident that he can succeed?
Because, and this is perhaps the most important point for me, I feel that he exudes a sincere humility. There are a lot of values that I appreciate in sport, but the number one quality is humility. The truth. Healthy humility. He doesn’t pretend or put himself in a character. I really like it.
How do you feel to see two Argentines at the head of the two biggest Parisian clubs?
It’s a beautiful nod from fate. Besides, we both played a bit in our clubs. Yes, for me, there is a small notion of pride to say that we meet in Paris in two big ambitious clubs, with a lot of history, and to see that the leaders of the two clubs have trusted two coaches Argentines. But on the other hand, I think Mauricio is as aware as I am that it is a big responsibility.
Do you plan to see each other?
As soon as he arrived in Paris, a mutual friend created a WhatsApp group so that we had our numbers. We expressed our wish to meet soon, with his deputy Miguel D’Agostino as well. Between the Covid and the schedules of each other, it is a medium-term project. I don’t know about them but, for me, it will be a great opportunity so I can’t wait. We have already brought Mauro Icardi to Jean-Bouin, as at the time we had done with Pastore or Lavezzi. So now we will take care of Mauricio to come and see us too, for training or matches. And inevitably we will all end up at the best Argentinian restaurant, the Volver ( Editor’s note: in the Saint-Germain district ). It will be a mandatory appointment, as usual!
The only thing missing will be Messi …
It would be great for Mauricio and PSG. But somewhere if I were him… (he hesitates) I don’t know… Maybe it’s a bit dumb of me, but I’d be as happy to have him as not to have him. Even if you have Neymar, Mbappé and company, it would prove a little more that you can succeed without the help of the best player in the world.