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Pochettino's dismissal 'ungrateful', says Veron

China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-27 09:15

Juan Sebastian Veron believes his former Argentina teammate Mauricio Pochettino has reason to feel hard done-by after being fired as manager of Tottenham Hotspur last month.

Pochettino paid the price for a poor start to this season and has been replaced by Jose Mourinho.

The dismissal of Pochettino had stunned many Spurs fans, considering he had overseen four straight top-four domestic finishes and last term took the north London club to its first ever Champions League final, where it finished runner-up to Liverpool.

And former Manchester United playmaker Veron reckons Spurs were too hasty in pulling the trigger on his compatriot.

"Football, in a way, is ungrateful. For me, Mauricio did a great job at Tottenham, but many times they demand results," Veron told Xinhua during his recent trip to China.

"Now it's up to Jose Mourinho, another great coach. I hope he has more luck."

Veron won 73 caps for Argentina but did not manage to win any major titles for his country, just like current Albiceleste superstar Lionel Messi.

Like many observers, Veron reckons Qatar 2022 will likely be 32-year-old Messi's final opportunity to win the World Cup.

"The 2022 Qatar World Cup may be his last chance. As the last chance, he will have to see how to reach the goal," he said.

Veron is now chairman of the hometown club where he started his career, Estudiantes de La Plata. He recently persuaded compatriot Javier Mascherano to join Estudiantes after the former Barcelona player served out his contract with Hebei China Fortune.

"We are good friends. Javier wants to take care of his family," Veron explained.

Veron was in China to serve as a brand ambassador for the inaugural FISU University World Cup, which was staged in Fujian province from Nov 21 to Dec 1.

"For me it is a new experience, especially seeing boys and girls who are not going to have the possibility of playing at the FIFA World Cup. It is an important university championship," said the 44-year-old, who is planning to cooperate with Fujian Chaoyue (Broncos) to conduct youth training programs.

"When I was thinking about what I would be after I retired from the beautiful game, I was not attracted to being a coach. What I liked was the fact that I could develop a project in this case, in my club," said the two-time South American player of the year.

"The development of football in China is still at an early stage. I believe that a project is needed. The youth training takes time, that's essential. You need to train and play lots of games. If you work hard, you can improve in football.

"We plan to take the (Chinese) kids to Argentina, so they can have training and participate in competitions there."

At the peak of his powers, Veron was considered one of the finest long-range passers of his generation, however injuries affected his career during spells with Manchester United and Chelsea.

After leaving England, he rediscovered his best form at Inter Milan and went on to prolong his career until the age of 42.

"I cherish all the experiences I had at these clubs, which are all important memories in my life," Veron said, adding that "personal care, will and desire to always want more" were the secrets behind his longevity.

Xinhua in Fuzhou, Fujian province

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