Martino set to become new Barcelona coach: reports

AFP, MADRID

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - Page 18

Former Newell’s Old Boys and Paraguay national team manager Gerardo Martino is set to become the new Barcelona coach, numerous sources in the Spanish media reported on Monday.

It was expected that the Argentine would arrive in Barcelona yesterday to sign a three-year deal with the Catalans, who have moved quickly to replace Tito Vilanova after he was forced to resign on Friday due to on-going ill health.

Martino, who hails from Rosario, the same city where Barca star Lionel Messi grew up, recently left Newell’s despite leading them to the Argentine Clausura title and to the Copa Libertadores semi-finals.

Previous to taking over at the Argentine club, the bulk of Martino’s managerial experience had been in Paraguay, where he won four domestic championships with Libertad and Cerro Porteno, before going on to lead the national side to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2010 and the Copa America final a year later.

Indeed, the 50-year-old had been strongly linked with a move to Real Sociedad earlier last month, before deciding to stay on to manage Newell’s until the end of their Libertadores campaign.

Now it looks as if he will land a significantly bigger job, after the unfortunate timing of Vilanova’s departure less than a month before the start of the season left the Spanish champions with few other options.