Mauricio Pochettino will NOT reject Barcelona if manager job is offered to ex-Spurs chief for third time despite rivalry

MAURICIO POCHETTINO is reportedly still open to becoming Barcelona coach, even if he has rejected the LaLiga giants TWICE.

As a former Espanyol player and manager, the Argentine's past is thought to have ruled him out of the running for the Camp Nou job.

However, according to Evening Standard, he was asked to take over on two separate occasions in the past year.

Barcelona controversially sacked Ernesto Valverde in January and, although Xavi was the favourite, Pochettino is said to have turned down the job before Quique Setien was hired.

Ronald Koeman then came in to replace Setien after the disastrous 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the summer.

Once again, Pochettino reportedly rejected the opportunity and is now a year out of a job.

It is said that the 48-year-old fears accepting one imperfect chance to return to the game, just as the ideal role comes along.

Barcelona are currently mired in a financial crisis, with talk of pay cuts and even bankruptcy surrounding the club.

Poch knows exactly what he wants to do. Football is his life, so he’s been watching everything and he likes to talk about football.

Sat eighth in LaLiga, the Blaugrana travel to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Pushing back up the table could be key to convincing Lionel Messi to remain at the club, the striker's contract expiring in the summer following his recent attempt to force a move.

Pochettino has been linked with a number of clubs since being sacked by Tottenham.

Manchester United, Athletic Club, Juventus, Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid are just some of the sides touted in the past 12 months.

Fellow Tottenham and Argentina legend Ossie Ardiles has recently claimed that Pochettino's mind is made up over his next role.

The 68-year-old stated: "[Pochettino] has had a few offers, but for one reason or another it’s not happened.

"He’s just waiting and he’s in a very good position, he can more or less choose where to go.

"He knows exactly what he wants to do.

"Football is his life, so he’s been watching everything and he likes to talk about football.

"He’ll take his time and, before long, he’ll be working again."

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