The appointment of Gerardo Martino at Barcelona surprised a few people across the world, including myself. So who is this new manager?
Well, Martino as a player was an attacking-midfielder who never made it out of South America but was voted Newell's Old Boys greatest ever player.
As a manager he enjoyed equal success, not only at Newell's Old Boys but on the international stage as well.
He was the manager of Paraguay in the 2010 World Cup and guided them to a quarter-final loss against eventual winners Spain. He followed that up by taking the country to the Copa America final by beating Brazil en-route. However, they lost to Uruguay to finish as runners-up..
He then leapt at the chance to manage his former club Newell's Old Boys, saying he would have been "betraying their history" if he turned down the move.
This move would spark a change in the fortunes of the team after successive 19th and 18th-placed finishes and three managers in a year before he joined.
He guided them to the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League. Not only that, Newell's Old Boys reached the semi-final before being knocked out by Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro by on penalties.
Martino has therefore had a successful career to date but is not a household name in Europe. This move may change that and although a few fans may not to happy about the calibre of manager appointed at Barcelona, a few people will be happy about the news.
This includes Lionel Messi, who is a life-long Newell's Old Boys fan and therefore appreciates the appointment and I am sure he will fit in well with the philosophy as well.
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