Barcelona: Gerardo Martino replaces Tito Vilanova as manager

 

Barcelona have appointed Argentine Gerardo Martino as their new coach after he agreed a two-year contract.

The 50-year-old former Paraguay boss replaces Tito Vilanova, who stepped down as Barcelona manager to continue his treatment for cancer.

He was recently in charge of Newell's Old Boys, who he led to the Argentine Torneo final title last season.

Gerardo Martino factfile

  • 1962: Born 20 November, Rosario, Argentina
  • Playing career: Record appearance holder with Newell's Old Boys with 505 matches and one cap for Argentina national team plus spells in Spain, Ecuador and Chile before retiring in 1996.
  • Early management career: Spent formative years with lower league Argentine sides Brown de Arrecifes, Platense and Instituto before titles in Paraguay with Libertad and Cerro Porteno.
  • Paraguay: Took over as manager of national team in 2006 and four years later steered them to the World Cup quarter-finals where they were beaten by eventual winners Spain. Quit after finishing runners-up to Uruguay in the 2011 Copa America
  • Newell's Old Boys: Returned to manage his former club in 2012 and guided them to the Argentine Torneo final (second half of the season) title in his first season
  • Barcelona: Becomes the fourth Argentine to manage the Catalan club after replacing Tito Vilanova

Details of his arrival in Barcelona and official presentation by the Spanish champions will be announced on Tuesday.

He becomes the fourth Argentine to manage Barca after Helenio Herrera, Roque Olsen and Cesar Luis Menotti.

It will be Martino's first job outside of South America since a six-month spell playing for Tenerife in 1991.

A number of coaches had been linked to the vacant position, including former Barcelona B boss Luis Enrique, Tottenham's Andre Villas-Boas, Swansea's Michael Laudrup and Guus Hiddink, who quit as coach of Anzhi Makhachkala on Monday.

However, the Catalan club have ignored more high-profile candidates in favour of Martino, who is considered to have a similar style to former Athletic Bilbao manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Martino was a key player in the Newell's Old Boys side Bielsa managed in the early 1990s and both hail from the Argentine city of Rosario.

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol says Martino's managerial style will fit in with the playing philosophy at the Nou Camp.

"We know about his career, he is a very good coach," Puyol said before Martino's appointment was confirmed.

"He likes Barcelona's playing style. I think all the names mentioned are capable of coaching this team.

"We have a certain way of playing; a philosophy. The coach that comes in will follow that line and I'm sure that Zubi (sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta) and the directors want a coach that can adapt to our characteristics."