At 51 years old, Mauricio Pochettino has this physical status:
Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero (born 2 March 1972) is an Argentine professional football manager and former player, who was most recently the manager of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. As a centre-back, he spent 17 years as a professional player, ten of which were in La Liga with Espanyol where he scored 13 goals in 275 games and won two Copa del Rey trophies.
He also played in France for two clubs, Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux, having started his career with Newell's Old Boys.
An Argentina international for three years, he represented the country at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 1999 Copa América and was capped 20 times. Pochettino began his managerial career at Espanyol in January 2009, remaining in the post for nearly four years.
He then managed in the Premier League, first with Southampton where he led them to an eighth-placed finish in the 2013–14 season — their highest league position since 2002–03, while also recording their highest points tally since the Premier League began in 1992–93.
Following one season at Southampton, he became the new manager of Tottenham, whom he led to top-three finishes in three of his first four seasons.
In 2019, Pochettino led Tottenham to the Champions League final for the first time in the club's history.
He was relieved of his duties in November the same year.
Pochettino was born in Murphy, Santa Fe to Amalia and Héctor Pochettino, a farm labourer. His family is of Italian descent from Piedmont. Between the age of eight and ten, he played both football and volleyball, and also learned judo. He supported Racing Club de Avellaneda as a child. The first football match he watched on television was the 1978 FIFA World Cup which he watched with his father Héctor at the local sports club in Murphy, Centro Recreativo Unión y Cultura. He started playing as a centre-back at an early age for Unión y Cultura, a position he preferred, but he also played as a striker and midfielder. When he was 13, he trained two days a week with Rosario Central in Rosario, Santa Fe, a 160 mile bus-ride away from Murphy. He played in Murphy in the first division of the regional Venadense league together with his older brother, Javier. He studied agriculture in a school 20 miles from home.
Pochettino and his wife Karina Grippaldi have two sons, Sebastiano and Maurizio. Sebastiano was Tottenham's first team sports scientist. Maurizio was granted a contract with Tottenham's development squad, scoring his first goal for the under-18 side against Norwich City in October 2018. In early December, he made his debut for the under-23s against VfL Wolfsburg. In January 2021, Maurizio signed for Watford.
Pochettino believes in "energía universal" (English: universal energy), the idea that people, places and things are charged with a hidden energy, positive or negative. "I believe in energía universal", he said. "It is connected. Nothing happens for causality (By accident). It is always a consequence [of something else]. Maybe, it is one of the reasons that Harry [Kane] always scores in derbies. I believe in that energy. For me, it exists".
When Pochettino was 14 years old, Jorge Griffa, the Old Boys' football director, and his future coach Marcelo Bielsa, became the reserve team coach at Newell's. Although he was happy at Rosario Central, who were interested in signing him, he was discouraged to try out against their opponents, Newell's Old Boys in Rosario, Santa Fe. He was quickly inserted in a Mar del Plata team in January 1987 and helped the team win 3–2 against Club Olimpia of Paraguay before moving to Newell's. He was granted a professional job at 16, and made his first appearance in the Primera División in 1988–89, when he was 17.
Under Bielsa, who was the first-team coach from 1990 to 1992, he was active, fast-paced, high press style of play at Newell's. Bielsa's coaching methods and philosophy will have a huge effect on the young player.
Pochettino won the 1990–91 national championship as well as the 1992 Clausura. Both teams qualified in the final of the Copa Libertadores, with Pochettino scoring a vital goal away from Colombian champions América de Cali in the second match leg of their semi-finals, but they were defeated 3–2 by S. Paulo in a penalty shoot-out, with both teams falling 1–1 on aggregate over the course of two legs. He played with Diego Maradona for a time, sharing a room before games.
Pochettino had the option of joining several clubs, including Boca Juniors, but he chose Espanyol, the most financially viable option, since moving to Barcelona. Pochettino, 22, made his way to Espanyol in the 1994–95 season as part of the new intake of players returning to La Liga for the first time. He forged himself as an automatic first-team starter and forged a reputation as a tough, uncompromising central defender. Ronaldo was banned from the game in February 1997, when the team defeated Barcelona at the soon-to-beach Sarrià Stadium, which was also devastated, and the team lost 2–0. It was their first victory over Barcelona in ten years against Barcelona.
He played for six-and-a-half years at the club. Despite the fact that he had the opportunity to move on several occasions, he decided to stay. In 1998, he stayed so as to rejoin his former coach Bielsa, but he turned down a bid from Valencia in the 1999–2000 season due to his devotion to the team. In that season, he aided Espanyol in defeating Atlético Madrid in the 2000 final of the Copa del Rey, their first major trophy in 60 years.
He pre-agreement to continue with the club for six years in the 1999–2000 season, subject to limits. However, the club could not finance the transfer, and Pochettino was told by Pochettino that he should accept a request from Paris Saint-Germain.
Pochettino signed for Paris Saint-Germain in late January 2001 for an undisclosed fee. He made his professional league debut during his stay in Nantes on February 3, 2001, beating Nantes, which PSG lost 11-0. Pochettino scored his first goal in a 1–3 home loss to Guingamp three days later. His contributions resulted in Paris Saint-Germain winning the 2001 version of the UEFA Intertototo Cup, guaranteeing that the Parisian team won on away goals as well as defeating PSG in the Coupe de France final next season, where PSG lost 1–2 to Auxerre.
Pochettino was transferred from Bordeaux, a French Ligue 1 outfit, to Bordeaux for the 2003-04 season in July, 2003. In a 2–0 loss, his first game came against Monaco on August 2nd, 2003. Pochettino's first goal was set on August 23, assisting Bordeaux in beating Auxerre by 2–0 home win.
He returned to Espanyol, but first on loan, before making the transfer permanent. Pochettino returned to play for two-and-a-half seasons midway through his first year. He was an ineffective substitute in the 2005–06 Copa del Rey, where Espanyol defeated Zaragoza 4–1.
Ernesto Valverde took over as manager in the summer of 2006 after the triumph, but he did not want Pochettino in the squad for the coming season. Pochettino announced his retirement as a player at the age of 34. He completed a master degree in sports administration at a business school before deciding to be a mentor in Madrid a year later.
Pochettino played four games for the Argentina under-23 team at the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament in Paraguay in 1992, which saw them fail to qualify for the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Over a four-year career, Pochettino earned 20 caps for the full team. He was handed his first senior international by his former manager Bielsa, who played his first match against the Netherlands on March 31, 1999, resulting in a 1–1 draw. In another friendly, Pochettino scored his first goal, a 2–0 victory over Spain on November 17, 1999. He appeared in three complete matches in the former tournament as the nation failed to advance from the group stage.
During Argentina's second group stage match against England, Pochettino's most exciting highlight to the game was when Italian referee Pierluigi Collina awarded Argentina's opponents a point after the defender brought down Michael Owen in the box. David Beckham converted the converted kick for the match's only goal.
Pochettino became Espanyol's third coach of the 2008–09 season in late January 2009, with the team finishing third from third place in the table. He had only received his UEFA Pro License in December 2008 and had served as the assistant coach to the ladies' team for a short time, but was otherwise untested as a coach. In the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, his first match was at home against neighboring FC Barcelona, coached by Pep Guardiola. Despite his players' reluctance and only being able to attend two training sessions prior to the game, his system of high pressing and one-on-one defensive cover yielded an unexpected 0–0 draw. The team's fortunes increased and ended the season comfortably mid-table after he had called for "divine intervention," with their first victory in the league derby against Barcelona, their first in the competition at the Camp Nou in 27 years. During his last year as coach of nine players, he coached nine players who were his teammates during his last year as well as renewed his deal for a further three years in early June.
Pochettino led Espanyol to a decent league position in 2009-2010, particularly after the coach's compatriot Dani Osvaldo's arrival in January 2010. He committed to a one-year contract at Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, which ran until June 2012, and then renewed his deal until 2014. However, on November 26, 2012, the team's 0–2 home loss against Getafe CF, leaving the team in last place with just nine points from 13 games, and with the manager yelling about the financial constraints being enforced on him, the team's contract was terminated by mutual agreement at the end of the month.
Despite the lowly league position, Pochettino's work had earned praise from commentators and fans alike, and he was beginning to model how his coaching would continue at his new clubs, including the imposition of a specific tactical style on all of the clubs' teams down to youth, attending training sessions to get news from all levels, a preference for 4–2–3–1.
Pochettino was appointed as the new first-team manager of Southampton's Premier League, replacing Nigel Adkins and becoming the second Argentine manager in English football after Osvaldo Ardiles on January 18, 2013. At St Mary's Stadium, his first match in charge was five days later, with a 0–0 draw against Everton. He defeated reigning champions Manchester City 3–1 at home on Sunday, his first victory.
Despite having some English knowledge, Pochettino began using a Spanish interpreter in press conferences as a way to fully express himself. He led the Saints to impressive victories against other top league teams, including a 3–1 victory over Liverpool and a 2–1 triumph over Chelsea at St Mary's.
Pochettino led Southampton to an eighth-place finish in their first full season, since 2002–03, while simultaneously tallying their highest point total since the Premier League began in 1992–93.
Pochettino was appointed head coach of Tottenham Hotspur on a five-year deal on May 27, 2014, marking their tenth manager in less than a 12-year career. Following a 3–2 aggregate victory over Sheffield United that was followed by a 2–0 draw in the team's final game at Wembley Stadium, the team reached the final of the League Cup on January 28th. His first season in the domestic league was largely fruitful, with a fifth-place finish and the conversion of several young academy players into regular first-team players; Kane and his teammates, Dele Alli and Eric Dier, were praised as the starting strikers, despite the fact that Kane and his teammates were dubbed the potential starting lineup for the England squad at UEFA Euro 2016 as the starting striker.
Tottenham were in contention to win the league in 2015-16 but they lost 2–2 against Chelsea on May 2, 2016, confirming Leicester City as champions. The former received a league record nine yellow cards, and Pochettino struck the pitch in the first half to distinguish Danny Rose, his left back, from a match with Chelsea winger Willian. Spurs also lost in their last game of the season, ceding the league runners-up spot to rival Arsenal – but it was still good enough for their best league finish since 1990.
Pochettino agreed to a contract extension on May 12th, committing him to the club until 2021, as it was also confirmed that his title had changed from "head coach" to "manager," though he confirmed that the job itself was no different. With a loss to Chelsea in late November, the campaign began with a string of 12 unbeaten league games that culminated in a loss. However, they fell some way behind the leaders Chelsea, who lost by a loss to Tottenham in January 2017.
Pochettino's side eventually finished in second position with 86 points, their highest ranking since the English League began under new name and their highest ranking in 54 years under Bill Nicholson, and the first season-long unbeaten home run in 52 years since 1964–65 was also achieved.
Pochettino signed a new five-year deal on May 24th, 2018, extending his tenure at Tottenham Hotspur until 2023. Pochettino's 100th Premier League match as boss of Tottenham Hotspur in December 2018 after defeating Burnley late; he became the first Tottenham manager to reach this milestone and the third fastest Premier League manager to do so with a single club. Pochettino led Tottenham to their first ever Champions League/European Cup final on May 8 after beating Ajax on away goals (3–0 aggregate), with his team coming back from a 2–0 deficit (3–0 aggregate) at halftime in Amsterdam, but only for Lucas Moura to score a second-half hat-trick. Madrid lost by 2–0 to Liverpool in the final.
Pochettino was fired by Tottenham Hotspur on November 19, 2019, leaving the team 14th in the Premier League table, with chairman Daniel Levy citing "very disappointing" domestic results as the reason for the dismissal. José Mourinho succeeded Pochettino.
Pochettino was appointed as the head coach of Paris Saint-Germain on an 18-month deal, where he had spent two years during his playing career. Thomas Tuchel was recalled by him. His first game in charge came four days later, a 1–1 away league draw against Saint-Étienne. Pochettino was crowned in his first game in a 3–0 home victory over Brest on Monday. He earned his first honor in his career as Paris Saint-Germain defeated Marseille 2–1 in the Trophée des Champions, the first day of his career. Pochettino took over his first Champions League match with the Parisians on February 16, 2021, leading them to a 4–1 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of the round of 16. Pochettino's first European victory as a Paris Saint-Germain coach marked Pochettino's first European victory as a Paris Saint-Germain coach. PSG defeated Bayern Munich on the away goal rule in the Champions League quarter-finals, thanks to a 3–2 victory at the Allianz Arena. However, PSG lost in both legs against Manchester City in the semi-finals. Pochettino won the Coupe de France Final against Monaco and finished second in the Ligue 1 behind Lille and in second place. He extended his contract until 2023 in July 2021. He captured his first Ligue 1 title in the 2021-22 season. It was revealed on July 5, 2022, that Paris Saint-Germain had parted with Pochettino.