Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino has ruled out ever managing Barcelona, despite being spotted with Spanish club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu last week.
Barcelona are searching for a successor to manager Luis Enrique, who will stand down at the end of the season, and Pochettino’s chance meeting with Bartomeu fuelled rumours the Argentine could be a candidate.
Pochettino used the international break to travel to Barcelona, where he still owns a house from his days playing for and managing Espanyol.
At the start of this month, Pochettino suggested his Espanyol history would not preclude him managing Barcelona but the 45 year-old has now shut the door on any potential move to the Nou Camp.
“I don’t like to speak about rumours, but it was true that I saw Bartomeu by coincidence in a bar in Barcleona, last Tuesday,” said Pochettino. “I have known him for a long time before he became chairman of Barcelona.
“There were many people around us, who saw us to say hello and we spent five minutes together - that was the reality. You know the rumours after it’s impossible to stop, but I am an Espanyol supporter and I don’t speak too much.
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“If Daniel Levy sacked me in a few years, it would be impossible to manage Arsenal. In football it’s difficult to keep values, to stay loyal with heart and emotion. But, for me, it’s more important to be loyal. I am an Espanyol fan, I love Espanyol and now Tottenham. For me, it would be impossible one day to move to Arsenal. It would be impossible.”
Left-back Danny Rose is waiting on the opinion of a specialist to find out when he will return from a knee injury, while striker Harry Kane has resumed training but Pochettino will not put a date on his comeback.
“Harry is doing well,” said Pochettino. “He started a few days ago to work on the pitch. We and he are very positive and we will see when he will be available again. He is doing very well, very positive. We believe he can be available not so far away. I can’t say the time he still needs to be fit again, but it’s not too long.
“Maybe Harry and Danny will return at the same time. We need to wait on the opinion of the specialist and we will see after. I hope maybe both at the same time arrive, but both have different injuries, one is knee, another is ankle. Completely different, but I hope that before the end of the season both are available.”