Mauricio Pochettino Insists It's Acceptable For His Players to Express Their Desire to Play With Lionel Messi

Ali Shibil Roshan
Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino / Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has insisted it's acceptable for his players to express their desire to play with Lionel Messi.

Messi's contract with FC Barcelona is up this summer, and he has been linked with a move away from the Catalan outfit. PSG are considered to be among a few clubs that can afford to sign Messi, and many PSG players have already expressed their desire to play with the Barcelona captain.

Such comments did not go down well with Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman, who accused PSG and Angel Di Maria of 'disrespect' after the latter suggested Messi could join him at the French outfit.

However, Pochettino jumped to the defense of Di Maria and insisted what the Argentine winger said is not disrespectful towards Barcelona. "It's acceptable for Di Maria to express a desire to play with Messi," Pochettino told Spanish Radio, as per Sport. "If they ask him about, what's he going to say? It's obvious that everyone would want to play with Messi, so it's not disrespectful to Barça (to say that).

"We shouldn't take things out of context. Messi's a competitive machine, he's an animal. But we have to have respect for all players that are at other teams. Speaking about them doesn't help."