Today, Claudio Ranieri and Mauricio Pochettino are battling it out at the top of the Premier League as coaches. But 16 years ago, the Leicester boss almost signed the Tottenham boss, according to Sky Sports.
On Wednesday, The Foxes take on The Spurs for just the second time in four days at White Hart Line. They drew 2-2 in the FA Cup on Sunday, with a late and controversial penalty goal by Harry Kane.
It will be a new battle between the experienced Ranieri and the rising Pochettino. The Argentinian is 21 years younger than his Italian colleague, who happened to fancy him as a player.
Ranieri coached now Spanish giants Atletico Madrid during the 1999/2000 season and talked about bringing in Pochettino, who played at Espanyol at the time.
“I did try to sign him when I was the manager at Atletico Madrid. I always liked him as a player. I was very, very close but there was a little problem with our money at Atletico so it wasn’t possible. He was a player I always admired, a very good player,” said Ranieri.
However, the Italian recently told Pochettini that he was lucky not to come to Atletico.
“He said I was lucky because it was the year Atletico went down. The deal was done and I had agreed to go but there wasn’t the money. It was impossible to pay because there was a takeover at the club,” said Pochettino.
The Argentinian played his entire career as a central defender. He played 195 matches in La Liga and 81 in Ligue 1. Pochettino made his mark at Espanyol, PSG and Bordeaux. He also featured in 26 UEFA Cup (now Europa League) matches. He scored a total of 18 goals in his career, spanning from 1988 until 2006.