Gerardo Martino, who is set to be announced as Barcelona's new coach amid the unexpected set of events taking place in the Catalunya capital in the last few days, has quite a few fans in the football world.

Leading the queue of his admirers is Jorge Raul Solari, who coached the 50-year-old when he was a player in the 1980s.

"Gerardo is a very able coach," he commented. "It's no accident that he managed Paraguay. And he is more than ready to make the leap to Europe."

Solari, who himself advocates the passing game and is one of the best Argentine trainers, added: "I’m not surprised that Barcelona and other clubs are eyeing him up. He has proven that there are other ways of playing football."

Commenting on Martino's days as a midfielder, he continued: "He was a superb midfielder who really understood the game. That’s why his success as a manager has come as no surprise to me. He has an in-depth knowledge of the game. It's all about teamwork and passing and after that he looks for aesthetic beauty in his teams."

Speaking on Tata's philosophy as a coach, Solari added: "Passing is essential. We train players at Renato Cesarini and Newell's with a very definite aesthetic aim. Martino thrived on that, on respect for the game and for triangulations."

Martino will only be the fourth Argentine coach ever to manage Barcelona, following on the footsteps of Helenio Herrera, Roque Olsen and César Luis Menotti.

Herrera is the most successful among his predecessors winning two league titles, one Copa del Rey and one Copa de Ferias with the club.

Menotti, who was the last Argentine to lead Barca, about 30 years ago, praised his successor recently in a radio interview.

"Martino is one of those coaches who brings honour to the profession, whilst there are others who dishonour it," he said. "That's why I'm not at all surprised that he is at the forefront of world football. Tata turned Newell's into the side that played the best football in Argentina, because he allowed the team to rediscover the playing style that had historically defined it.

"He is heavily influenced by his time as a player and he transfers this to his team's playing style. In doing so, he runs the risk of being described as old-fashioned, especially by lovers of the modern game."

Argentine footballing legend Diego Maradona too seems to be a fan of the soon to be announced Barca coach as he had recently revealed that while he was in Dubai, he watched "every single Newell's game" because he loved the way Tata's team played.

Martino guided Newell's Old Boys to the Clausura championship last season with his brand of passing football, earning the team the nickname ‘Barcelona of the continent’.

Barca's present Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi, had told Argentine newspaper Ole a year ago: "I like Tata Martino. He's a great manager and we saw what he did for the team in the 'Clausura', they way it finished and how he managed it. He took the team, made it play well and everyone respects him."

Messi's brother, Matias, tweeted on Monday evening: "Let's hope we can continue on the right path!! Thanks Tito!! God bless you!!"

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi was delighted that one of his countryman was chosen as Barca coach, tweeting: "How cool that Barcelona have chosen an Argentine to be their coach. Total success, Tata!" 


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