FilGoal | News | Abidal in his own defense: I wanted Neymar and Pochettino in Barcelona … but the club chose Griezmann and Setien


After a historic eight-goal loss to two to Bayern Munich last year, Erik Abidal was one of the victims of a forgotten season in which Barcelona went out empty-handed.

The club ousted him from the sporting director’s position, but the former Blaugrana defender defended his position in Barcelona during an interview with the English newspaper The Telegraph.

The former France player spoke about the backstage of negotiating with Neymar, and how he ended up in Barcelona contracting coach Quique Setien, who left after a few months of leading the team.

Abidal, 41, said: “Ten days before the end of the transfer market (in the summer of 2019), I went to Paris to speak with Leonardo (the sporting director of Paris Saint-Germain) and the president (Jose Maria Bartomeu) was with me and we were talking about Neymar.”

And he continued, “I think that when the president goes to the Paris club, this is because we can sign Neymar. If we hadn’t got Antoine Griezmann, I think 100% of us would have brought Neymar back to Barcelona, ​​because we needed a wing. Neymar was amazing when he was in Barcelona.”

“It’s not about any player better than the other, but the position that I thought we needed at that time. The club needed a player for the winger position. The president decided to sign Griezmann.”

He added, “One of the reasons for opposing Neymar’s deal is that there is a case from the player against the club, so it was not easy. They said if he wanted to return to Barcelona to drop the case. This was not my problem, because I was not in the club when the crisis occurred. I thought we could contract with him.” Player, but that did not happen. “

As for the backstage of the contract with the coach, Setien in January 2020, Abidal said: “On my list were Mauricio Pochettino, Quique Setien, Massimiliano Allegri and Shabee Hernandez. The contract was signed with Setien, but my first choice was Pochettino.”

“I was not the only one to talk to Pochettino. I told the management to hire the best coach in the market. I don’t care about politics, because Pochettino was a former coach of Espanyol. For me, politics has nothing to do with it. I wanted the best and Pochettino is one of the best coaches.” Who are. “

The 2019-2020 season ended with Barcelona losing the League and the King’s Cup and coming out with a cruel defeat in the Champions League, with Setien leaving and Ronald Koeman succeeding him in the coach of the Catalan club.

Barcelona has improved with its former Dutch defender, is competing fiercely for the Spanish League title, and will play the King’s Cup final against Athletic Bilbao on April 17th.

But in the Champions League, the Spanish club, which has won the continental title 5 times, must try next season, after leaving the current version with a loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

The most prominent issue at Barcelona now is convincing Lionel Messi to stay with the team.

The historic star’s contract ends in June, and his fate has yet to be determined.

Barcelona will resume their league matches against Valladolid on April 5.


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