De la Peña-Pochettino, parakeet connection in TGN
Iván de la Peña and Maurizio Pochettino met for the first time on the pitch wearing the Nàstic shirt. It was the match of the first Copa del Rey tie. The first made his official debut, while the second had the opportunity to earn more league minutes. A coincidence like any other, except that their parents also shared green. It was between 2003 and 2006. Iván de la Peña, father, and Mauricio Pochettino -with 'c'- were part of the RCD Espanyol squad. They shared 52 games.
A team that curiously won the Copa del Rey in 2006 at the Santiago Bernabéu after beating Real Zaragoza (4-1). That match, the Argentine central defender did not play a minute, while Iván de la Peña completed the entire match.
There were three seasons in which the Cantabrian midfielder, known as 'Lo pelat', dominated the parakeet midfield, while Murphy's defender (Argentina) led the defense along with Alberto Lopo, a former Nàstic player.
De la Peña, trained for years at FC Barcelona's La Masía, had arrived at Espanyol after a fleeting second spell at Italian Lazio. While Pochettino returned to the blue and white team, in which he had played between 1995 and 2001, after three years in France (PSG and Girondins de Bordeaux). After winning the Cup, the Argentine soccer player hung up his boots. Three years later he would return 'home' to take charge of the team as coach, coinciding again with De la Peña, who was still playing. With his former teammate, the Cantabrian midfielder did not play much, due to the injuries that accompanied him throughout his career and that led him to retire at the age of 34.
They were two players with enormous talent who left a remarkable legacy both in Espanyol and in world football. A weight that their children must face in the best way. Both its positive part, as well as the negative.
For now, neither Iván de la Peña Jr. nor Maurizio Pochettino -with 'z'- have managed to continue. The former has just made his debut with the first team. Since last season it is common to see him in Nàstic training. Already converted into a central defender, he has been a fixture in the grana subsidiary, when he has not been called up by the first team. There is confidence in him, but he still has a long way to go.
Pochettino, for his part, is part of the grana squad and tries to earn minutes. At the moment they are scarce. His appearances are not constant, but he has not been out of tune when he has made an appearance in the green. Both seek to make a path in the mud, different from that of their parents.