Tata is the favourite to take over at the Catalan giants – but who is he?
Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, is in Buenos Aires for talks with Gerardo Martino about the vacant manager’s position, and he could be officially appointed at some point this week.
Here is everything you need to know about Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – who looks set to take over from Tito Vilanova…
The run down on Tata…
– Tata is a 50-year-old Argentine, and has been in management since 1998.
– His footballing career stretched from 1980 to 1996, where he played for a whole host of clubs in South America, including Lanus, O’Higgins and Newell’s Old Boys. He starred for the latter, making over 400 appearances, and was voted as the club’s greatest ever player in a recent fan poll. He made one appearance for Argentina in 1991.
– He has never managed outside of South America, and has performed best managing in Paraguay, where he won four league titles with Libertad and Cerro Porteno between 2002 and 2006.
– Tata’s success in the country meant he was offered the Paraguayan national job in 2006, where he stayed for five years. He successfully led the team to World Cup 2010, where they defied the odds to reach the quarter-finals. As a result, he was awarded South American Coach of the Year in 2007.
-Last year he returned to Newell’s Old Boys where he performed so brilliantly as a player, and duly won the league title.
-In his last six seasons as a club manager, he has won a league title five times with three different clubs.
–Lionel Messi has given a glowing assessment of Tata. Messi would welcome Martino’s appointment, and said: “I like Tata Martino. He is a great coach and he gets his teams playing well and we all respect him,” reported The Guardian.
–Tata plays an intricate brand of passing football with a slow tempo, and would likely be able to adapt to the ingrained tika-take philosophy relatively easily.
-Tata would become the first foreign manager at Barcelona since Frank Rijkaard left in 2008, and the first Argentine since Cesar Menotti in 1983.