Ossie Ardiles believes Lionel Messi will form a stronger bond with Mauricio Pochettino than he has with any other manager after the Argentina captain’s sensational move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi has signed a two-year deal with PSG after Barca were unable to keep the superstar forward for financial reasons.
Former Argentina midfielder Ardiles expects the six-time Ballon d’Or to revel in playing under his compatriot Pochettino.
Ardiles also feels the presence of fellow Argentinians Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi and Leandro Paredes can only be a positive for Messi.
“Messi is not just Argentinian, but a global player. Of course he is able to play with anyone and he is also able to play at any style of game. This is how enormous his game is,” Ardiles told Stats Perform News.
“it helps to have that many Argentinians. Mauricio, for instance, is from the same city [as Messi], Rosario. Obviously, they speak same language.
“It will be very important for Lionel Messi to have Mauricio there. Messi got along well with almost every manager, but I think it will be even better with Mauricio.
“Being with Di Maria, Paredes and Icardi will help, but I also think these players don’t play the full Argentinian style. They are very global. Icardi has been in Italy and now at PSG. The same for Paredes or Di Maria, being also in English football. From that point of view, there won’t be any issue, for sure.”
Messi scored 672 times in 778 appearances for the Blaugrana, winning the Champions League four times and claiming 10 LaLiga titles.
The 34-year-old was reduced to tears during an emotional farewell press conference and Ardiles fears for Barca following the departure of the inspirational skipper – especially considering the desperate state of the club’s finances.
Ardiles added: “Barca stays very, very hurt. Actually, the situation is absolutely critical. To lose the best player in the world is tough.
“He has spent 20 years in the club, he is the symbol, the captain… he is everything. I really think there are coming very tough times for Barcelona.
“We were used to seeing Barcelona leading the game and being the team to be beaten. If you wanted to lift the Champions League or LaLiga you had to beat Barcelona. That will all change with Messi’s departure. Absolutely.
“On the other hand, Barcelona spent so much money. That’s why it is in this situation now. Like people say, it has likely been [the fault of] the previous board, but the fact is Barcelona has spent much more than they could.
“So, nowadays, Barcelona cannot go to the market and buy the best player in the world, not even keep him in his own squad. And it can’t either go to the market to buy the current stars, as they don’t have money to do it.
“However, Barcelona is a very big club, an extraordinary club and of course it will be back. But I think it will take a long time.”