OFFICIAL: New Barcelona coach is Gerardo Martino | inside World Soccer

OFFICIAL: New Barcelona coach is Gerardo Martino

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gerardo Martino was announced on Tuesday as new Barcelona coach to replace Tito Vilanova, who stepped down from the role last Friday due to a relapse in his cancer battle.

Gerardo Martino led Newell's Old Boys to the Argentinian Clausura title last season
Gerardo Martino led Newell's Old Boys to the Argentinian Clausura title last season

Photo: Getty Images

The 50-year-old gave his final press conference in Rosario on Tuesday to declare farewell to Newell's Old Boys, before heading to Spain to sign a two-year deal with the Spanish champions.

"I can't tell you how proud I am to have the chance to work with Barcelona," Martino said.

"I had practically prepared for a rest and to wait for a job offer and I definitely didn't expect this.

"Barça's call caught me off guard, but it fills me with pride. I'm very grateful that the people of Barcelona chose me.

"Having the opportunity to be the coach of Barcelona, to be in charge of such a great squad and to coach Lionel Messi on top of all that, is something any coach in the world would want.

"It's a big challenge to join a club of this magnitude and to try and do a good job. As with every big club, I want our team to be serious candidates to win every competition."

The former Paraguay coach believes Messi and his father Jorge, both fans of Newell's, had influenced the Barcelona board of directors' decision to hire him as coach.

He added: "I don't know the details nor the depth, but Jorge and Lionel have spoken with the club's directors and have been asked their opinion.

"I don't know much about what went on but I have to thank them. All Argentines should thank them."

Martino is the fourth Argentine to ever coach the Catalan club following in the footsteps of compatriots Helenio Herrera, Roque Olsen, and César Luis Menotti.

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