Mauricio Pochettino admitted he is lost for words when it comes to describing Lionel Messi but said the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has settled in quickly at Paris Saint-Germain ahead of his Champions League debut for the club.
PSG signed Messi in August when financial issues left Barcelona unable to retain him, and he played 24 minutes of his new club’s Ligue 1 victory over Reims before the international break.
Messi, who won the Champions League four times with Barcelona, is set to make his bow in the competition for PSG against Club Brugge on Wednesday, and Pochettino told UEFA.com that he is preparing well.
When asked to describe his compatriot, Pochettino said: “I may not be the most appropriate person to describe him. There are many more people who have a wider vocabulary to describe him closer to the reality Leo deserves.
“He will always be considered among the best in the world. Since he arrived, he has really adapted very quickly and he’s been training very well, trying to achieve his highest level as soon as possible to compete at his best.
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“I didn’t think it was possible [that he would sign for us], and when an opportunity appears and everything goes so fast, you can’t immediately process it. However, there’s that connection: we both are Argentinian, we both support Newell’s [Old Boys], we both come from Rosario.
“I have also admired him for a long time when facing him as an opponent, so having him now training with us is really nice. We hope that, together, we will be able to achieve what the club desires.”
Messi’s experience in the Champions League is matched by team-mate Sergio Ramos, who won the competition four times before joining PSG from Real Madrid in July.
Pochettino, who admitted that most of the players in his squad deserve to be in his starting line-up, said Ramos would be able to guide younger colleagues through the pressurised environment of Europe’s top competition.
“Sergio is also a player that we think can, given the possibility, convey his experience, his competitiveness,” said Pochettino.
“He’s a player that has also won everything, just like Leo.
“It’s good having him at the club for all that he can share with his team-mates: all that experience he gained at Real Madrid.”
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