Tottenham Hotspur manager, Mauricio Pochettino, may have started off his managerial career rather well, but he had an impressive 18 seasons as a player too (Wikipedia).
Poch started off his playing days at Newell’s Old Boys, where he spent six seasons, played 153 games, and scored eight goals.
The Argentine then moved to Espanyol where he played 254 games and scored 12 goals, before moving to PSG in the 2000/01 season. After three seasons at PSG and a short stint at Bordeaux, Poch returned to his beloved Espanyol for another three seasons.
Pochettino retired from football at age 34 and went through a similar problem to most as he desperately looked for something new to fill his days with.
However, Poch didn’t go straight into coaching or management, instead he enrolled into business school five days a week in order to remove himself from that football bubble.
One journalist asked the Spurs manager about his transition between player and manager today after the recent problems surrounding Paul Gascoigne (BBC).
Pochettino said (Football London): “It’s true, that I need to tell you I was a lucky man because my family helped me a lot, my wife and kids. When I finished my career at 34-years-old, I had a friend who is a professor of economics at the University of Barcelona. The first call was to him. I said ‘Pepe, I need to do something. To replace the time when I wasn’t training, I need my brain to work or I will become mad. I need to do something to help me’.
“He came to me and we went to the business school and I filled in the papers, paid the fee and a week later I started going Monday to Friday from 8 am to 2 pm, spending six hours there in a different environment, and that helped me a lot for one year. I was watching football, not spending too much time with my family, unfortunately, and preparing myself. I took myself out of the bubble quickly. I said I needed to be away. I made a lot of friends with people from all around the world who were studying there. They asked me what I was doing there and I said I needed them more than ever because I needed them to be normal people.
“When you are a player you are in a bubble, you need that bubble because it can be difficult but in that bubble, you have a lot of benefits and there are a lot of negatives. It was massive for me to see life in a different way, from a different perspective. It helped me a lot and be more mature. When I finished after one year I started my career like a coach in Madrid. Then when I got my licence in December 2008, on January 21, I started to work in my first game in Barcelona, Cope del Rey, Montjuic against Messi, Guardiola and company. I was a lucky man to receive an offer from my former club in the first division in Spain. That was how my two and a half years in between worked, from May 2006 to January 2009, starting my career as a coach.”
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