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Mikel Arteta talks on his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino

Published: Updated: 06:49, 17 May 2024
Arteta revealed an unknown connection with Pochettino which dates back decades

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta recently shared insights into his relationship with Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino, revealing that their bond dates back further than most football fans realize. The two have been rivals in the Premier League for a full season now, but once upon a time, they were close allies.

Arteta and Pochettino's friendship began when they shared a dressing room at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the early 2000s. As an inexperienced youngster who had failed to make the grade at Barcelona, Arteta joined PSG on loan in 2001. At the same time, Pochettino was an experienced veteran defender joining from Espanyol. Their paths crossed and an immediate friendship blossomed with Mauricio Pochettino mentoring young Mikel Arteta.

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager, said:

"Mauricio was like a shield for me, He was protecting me from everything. He was giving me so much confidence. He was playing behind me and then it was like having someone constantly pushing you in your back and coaching you and helping you all the time. I could not find anybody better."

Both were part of setup at Paris Saint Germain

During their tenure together at PSG, both players significantly contributed to improving the club's performance. They helped steer PSG to a fourth-place finish in Ligue 1 table - quite an upgrade from their ninth-place finish during the previous campaign. Of course, it's worth noting that Ronaldinho’s brilliance also played a significant part in this achievement.

In 2002, after his loan spell ended, Arteta returned to Barcelona before moving on to Rangers and then Real Sociedad before making his career-defining move to Everton in 2004.

Pochettino stayed with PSG until 2003 before moving on to Bordeaux for six months and then returning back home to Espanyol - where he would later kickstart his senior management career in 2009.

Teammates becoming rivals now

As managers now of rival clubs Arsenal and Chelsea respectively; Arteta and Pochettino have faced each other twice so far. Their first encounter ended in a draw, with Arsenal scoring two late goals to secure a point against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October. However, their second meeting was a complete turnaround with the Gunners scoring five goals past the Blues for an emphatic win last month.

The relationship between Arteta and Pochettino is a testament to the bonds formed on and off the pitch. Despite being rivals now, their shared history and mutual respect continue to shape their interactions today. As they continue to face each other in future Premier League matches, fans can look forward to more exciting encounters between these two footballing stalwarts.

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