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.


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

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Klopp keeps it simple
Two events show why the players have easily taken to what Jurgen Klopp is asking of them.

Dr Errol Sweeney
14-year-old ref racially abused
We are constantly told that football is the most popular sport in the world and, to a large extent,...

Sunday Oliseh
Coaching Eagles: What they won’t tell you
Two days after starting as chief coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria a representative of a major...

Segun Odegbami
Nigeria needs something valid to celebrate
The Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium erupted in an orgy of celebration after Nigeria beat Swaziland 2-0.