Who is new Barcelona manager, Gerardo Martino?

It is a rare occurrence that we as football fans fail to recognize a professional, be it player or manager, associated with Spanish Giants Barcelona.

However, the Catalan’s recent appointment of Gerardo Martino as head coach has produced more questions than answers.

Gerardo “Tata” Martino is not a big name in Europe. However, following the unfortunate departure of Tito Villanova, he will become very familiar as he looks to continue the club’s rich tradition of success.

But who exactly have Barca appointed as their new man in charge?

Martino, a native of Rosario, is the coach of the Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys.

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Newell’s are a club with a wealth of history and culture. They are now league champions for only the sixth time in their history, thanks in large part due to Martino. They also made a great run in the Copa Libertadores, going out in the semi-finals on penalties.

Martino’s playing career saw him appear mostly for the Old Boys. He holds the record for appearances with the team, having played a total of 505 matches in all official competitions. He is widely regarded as the club’s best ever player.

His managerial career really kicked-off in 2007, when he was assigned as head coach of the Paraguayan national football team, replacing Uruguayan Anibal Maño Ruiz.

His knowledge and success while coaching Paraguayan clubs were the parameters that positioned him as the best option for the job. Previously, Martino had won the Paraguayan league 4 times from 2002 till 2006.

The Argentine remained as Paraguay’s coach until after the 2011 Copa America, before taking over the managerial role at Newell’s Old Boys.

Martino becomes the first South American Barcelona coach in almost 30 years. The last one was the famed Argentine footballing philosopher, César Luís Menotti.

He’s never managed in Europe. And while he has big tournament experience – the World Cup, Copa America, and Libertadores – he’s never been the favourite in any of them. He’s had some license to accept “glorious defeat” in Argentina. That will not be the case in Catalonia.

It’ll be exciting time at the Catalan club. With a new manager comes new tactics, new targets and new roles for the current squad players and backroom staff.

Only time will tell if ‘Tata’ can reach the same levels of success as past managers at the club.

Whilst he is still relatively unknown, this is no reason to write him off. Especially before he gets the chance to prove himself.

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