Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Spain

Gerardo Martino © Action Images

Messi influenced my hiring - Martino



Gerardo Martino believes a recommendation from fellow Argentine Lionel Messi was behind his surprise appointment as Barcelona coach on Monday.

"The details of how the situation developed I don't know (but) I have no doubt Jorge (Messi's father) and Lionel had some influence," Martino, the former Paraguay coach, told a news conference in Rosario.

"I'm sure they were asked their opinion and we've come to this outcome," added the 50-year-old, who comes from Rosario like the Messis.

Martino, who led Newell's Old Boys to the Argentine "Final" championship last month, added: "I was expecting some job proposals and I can't say I was expecting this one.

"The situation was unexpected and of course it took me by surprise," added Martino, who quit Newell's after they lost their Libertadores Cup semifinal two weeks ago.

Barcelona went in search of a new coach after Tito Vilanova had to step aside to undergo more treatment for throat cancer.

"This is a very important job opportunity which came about due to a very unfortunate occurrence (Vilanova's illness)," Martino said.

"I'm very grateful they considered me, my staff and my work. The quality of the Barcelona squad, with Lio, is something any coach desires.

"I'm sure in our day-to-day (work) we'll find ways to support (Messi) so he continues to be the extraordinary player he is."

Martino, who will travel to Barcelona on Thursday, said he hoped to be up to the high demands of coaching one of the world's best club sides.

"We'll try to fit in quickly... Barcelona is an institution that has a way of life, a footballing development. We are the ones who are going to step into that world."

One of Martino's staff is Adrian Coria, the man credited with discovering and coaching Messi from the age of 11 to 13 at Newell's.

Martino misses Barcelona's friendly on Wednesday against European champions Bayern Munich, now under the Spanish giants' former coach Pep Guardiola.

Saturday's friendly with Norway's Valerenga in Oslo could be his debut on the bench.



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



John Dykes
Londoners to capitalise on pre-season
On Sunday, Wembley Stadium will once again host a game of football that isn’t all we think it is.

Segun Odegbami
Predicting the EPL winners
We are moments away from the start of the European football season. So, let’s look at the teams...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Premier League preview - part 1
Maybe it is a sign of my age, or an indication of how the last two seasons have been for the club I...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Ref's job becoming more difficult
What you are about to read may sound like I’m stating the obvious, but it’s true.

Carol Radull
Is this Gor Mahia's year?
Gor Mahia is having a bit of a dream season. A total of 18 games into the season, they are unbeaten.

Sunday Oliseh
Super Eagles job: an uphill task worth taking
It is definitely the most delicate football job on the African continent and the most demanding.