A CAREER IN KITS: MAURICIO POCHETTINO
Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero – or quite simply ‘Poch’.
The man you know as the manager who took Spurs to the brink of European glory - the man that many a world-class player would thank for their own progression in the game, both in the Premier League and in Spain.
However, before there was Pochettino the manager, there was Pochettino the player. A no-nonsense defender, who burst into the game at just 17 years of age and who went on to spend some 10 years in La Liga – winning two Copa del Rey trophies along the way.
Here’s his career in kits.
Newell's Old Boys – 1989–1994
Scouted at just 14, by the director of football for Newell’s – Jorge Griffa - and the then reserve team coach, Marcelo Bielsa. Quickly making his mark by 16, he was placed in the first team for the Mar del Plata tournament and by the 1988-89 offered a full-time professional contract.
Pochettino soon earned himself a reputation for being reliable defender that suited Newell’s intense, fast-paced approach to the game. Bielsa’s coaching methods and football philosophy would go on to shape the young Argentine. In his five years at the club he was apart of the 1990-91 championship winning team, as wells the 199 Clausura.
The shirts Newell’s wore were tremendous – big bold sponsors framing the red and dark navy adidas kits. The training attire is stuff of vintage dreams by today’s standards and demand.
Espanyol – 1994-2001
By the mid-90’s Pochettino was being courted by a number of big clubs, including Boca Juniors - but they failed to get their man and instead he opted for a move to Spain, joining Catalan club Espanyol.
It was here that he earned his reputation as a tough, uncompromising defender. He bought legendary fan status from a single performance against Barcelona, where he kept Ronaldo under lock and key for the entire game. Espanyol went on to win the derby 2-0 – a victory not seen for over ten years.
In 2000, despite advanced offers from Valencia for the defender, Pochettino played a key part in Espanyol’s Copa Del Rey’s success – beating Atlético Madrid in the final... Espanyol’s first major trophy in some 60 years.
Paris-Saint Germain – 2001-2003
From Spain to France for an undisclosed fee, Poch joined PSG having previously signed a pre-arrangement to stay with Espanyol for another six years. But the Spanish club could not afford the deal and advised the defender to join the French giants.
Pochettino became a regular starter during his two years with the club, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2001. He also helped PSG to the final of the Coupe De France, only to lose 2-1 against Auxerre.
Bordeaux – 2003-2004
By 2003 Pochettino has joined fellow Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, but the move was short lived. After just one season, Poch was heading back to his beloved Espanyol on loan for the start of the 2004/05 season.
Espanyol, (loan) – 2004-2006
Returning at the start of the 2004/05 season, Pochettino went on to win the Copa del Rey – with Espanyol beating Zaragoza 4-1.
The following season Ernesto Valverde took over and he did not see Pochettino as part of his long term plans. As a result, the defender that had just tasted Copa del Rey success for a second time with the club hung up his boots and called time on his professional career at the age of 34.
Argentina, (International Career) – 1999–2002
Pochettino made his first senior appearance for the Argentinian national side in 1999. It was his old manager, Bielsa, that gave him his first senior cap against the Netherlands in a friendly at the Amsterdam Arena.
He was in the squad for the 1999 Copa América and 2002 FIFA World Cup. In total he played over 20 times for his country, scoring twice.
Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero: one of the good guys.