Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta has shared that he has a close bond with Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino and considers him a “father figure.”
Although they are currently coaching rivals in the Premier League, Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and Chelsea’s Mauricio Pochettino were once teammates at Paris Saint-Germain.
Arteta was on loan in PSG from Barcelona early in his senior career in 2001, and he joined the club at the same time as Pochettino. Despite Pochettino being ten years older, Arteta has spoken about their relationship.
Pochettino and Arteta shared a season and a half as teammates before Arteta’s move to Rangers. However, they faced each other once more when Arteta signed with Real Sociedad and Pochettino returned to Espanyol.
Arteta recalls Pochettino being his first captain
Currently, Arteta is thriving as a coach, with his Arsenal team performing strongly in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Pochettino has earned respect as a manager through his stints at Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham, and PSG before joining Chelsea in the summer.
Arteta has praised Pochettino as a significant influence on his career, along with notable figures like Pep Guardiola, Johan Cruyff, and Arsene Wenger.
“Then one of the ones I have to say was Mauricio Pochettino because he was the first professional captain I had. He was like a father figure for me when I arrived at PSG,” he told Football365. “We signed almost the same day and we all landed in the same hotel, five or ten minutes away from the training ground. We could not speak French, we were there by ourselves and we spent three months in that hotel together every single day. So we built a really strong relationship. He was 30/31 years old, I was 17/18 and he just put me under his arm and carried me and protected me. It was a joy to have someone like that.”