“For me, it’s not politics. I wanted the best and Pochettino is one of the best in our game.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Abidal also spoke about how he almost brought Neymar back to the Camp Nou in 2019 when he was Director of Football at the club.
The former Barcelona full-back revealed to the Daily Telegraph that he wanted to bring Pochettino to Barcelona but couldn’t convince board members who were unhappy about a joke made by the Argentine.
The former Espanyol boss had previously joked that he would never join Barcelona, saying that it was ‘impossible’ to take the job.
The 49-year-old also said he ‘would rather work on his farm in Argentina’ than make the move across the city.
The joke was said to not go down well with the Barcelona hierarchy.
“I knew there was a political problem because I gave my argument to the board and some answers were focused on Espanyol and not on the technical part,” Abidal said.
“And I think he did an interview many years ago, I will not say he talked bad about the club, he said something about going to Argentina first before he will train Barcelona.
“This was a problem for some people’s egos and they said ‘no because he’s not respecting the club’.
“I told the board ‘I have to bring the best coach we can in the market. I’m not here for politics because he was before in Espanyol’.
“For me, it’s not politics. I wanted the best and Pochettino is one of the best in our game.
“He reached the Champions League final with Tottenham, you have to respect this, he has a good philosophy of playing, a good philosophy of training, players love him.
“I think he would be a better coach now for this situation, but with a real project.”
Abidal also spoke about Barcelona trying to re-sign Neymar in the summer of 2019.
“Ten days before the end of the transfer window, I went to Paris to talk with Leonardo [PSG’s sporting director] and I was with my CEO, and we were talking about Neymar,” Abidal added.
“I think if the CEO goes to Paris Saint-Germain, it’s because we can sign him.
“If we didn’t sign [Antoine] Griezmann before, I think 100 per cent we could have re-signed Neymar because what we needed was a winger and when Neymar was in Barcelona he was amazing.”