Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that Paris Saint-Germain “respect” Barcelona, after Ronald Koeman accused the French champions of running out of such products when considering the possible departure of Lionel Messi from Barcelona.
The 33-year-old has long been tipped to leave Camp Nou this summer, as PSG waited to snatch the Argentine in a free transfer. Some of the Parisian superstars have spoken out on the prospect of signing Messi, including compatriot national Angel Di Maria and former teammate Neymar.
The remarks angered Barca’s coach and hierarchy, who have since accused the French giants of disrespecting. However, Pochettino has dismissed the accusations, saying they “respect their rivals” and are much more focused on their ongoing title battle than any transfer rumors.
“Messi? We respect our rivals and the other clubs, ”said the PSG coach. “We respect Barça. And for now, we are focusing on Ligue 1.
“The game against Barça is not for ten days. Before that, we have the derby with Marseille and then there is the Coupe de France. ”
The Champions League round of 16 promise to be a brave affair when the two enemies face off, first on February 16 and then on March 10.
Barca coach Koeman has previously voiced his displeasure over comments about Messi’s future, saying “it’s not good” to talk about a current Blaugrana star in this way.
“For me it is a lack of respect,” Koeman retorted, when asked about Di Maria’s claims that there is a ‘good chance’ Messi will join PSG.
“It is not respectful to talk so much about a player who is still a Barca player.
“It’s not good. It’s a mistake to say something like that, it might add spice to the Champions League game. It is not fair. It is not respectful for Barça to talk about one of our players like that. ”
However, Messi may feel disrespected by Barca himself, after images of his current contract leaked from El Mundo newspaper, triggering an internal investigation and legal action from the superstar.