Newell’s Old Boys former manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino will replace ailing Tito Vilanova at Barcelona, after the latter stepped down on Friday due to his long-time battle with cancer. Argentinean, Martino, will sign a three-year deal at Camp Nou.
Barcelona will make a formal announcement and unveil the new manager in the coming days as contracts are yet to be formalised.
The club spoke to the 50-year-old, who led Newell’s Old Boys to the Copa Libertadores semi-finals, as soon as they knew Vilanova was stepping down, and they reached agreement by video conferencing call on Monday morning. However, the former Paraguay (2006-11) manager is not expected in Barcelona until Wednesday.
Born in Rosario, Martino led Paraguay to the 2010 South Africa World Cup and officially left the position after the 2011 Copa America to take over at his hometown club, Newell Old Boys, in 2012- guiding them to winning the Argentinean Clausura title. Martino also made his name as a midfielder for the Rosario club in the late 80s and 90s.
He is best known in Spain for managing the Paraguay side that narrowly lost 1-0 to the la Roja Furia at the 2010 World Cup.
Martino had turned down managerial jobs from Roma, Real Sociedad and Malaga recently, because of his commitment to Newell Old Boys, who lost to Atletico Mineiro in the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores.
He will be accompanied by his normal backroom team, but it is not yet clear the positions of Jordi Roura (Vilanova’s assistant in his short one-year stint) and the recently signed Joan Fransesc Ferrer, known as Rubi.
He has supported the Catalan giants’ style of football in recent years and defended them against critics.
On his consideration as one of the favourites for the Barcelona job, compatriot, Lionel Messi- who also hails from Rosario- embraced the development.
“I like Tata Martino. He is a great coach and has showed that in the Clausura with what he did for the (Newell Old Boys) team, the way it ended and how he did it. He gets his teams playing well and we all respect him,” Messi told Diario Ole a year ago.