It’s looking more and more like Gerard Martino will be the next manager of Barcelona Football Club.
Lionel Messi and Carles Puyol have spoken favorably about Martino as the Argentine manager has emerged as the favorite to succeed Tito Vilanova at the Camp Nou.
Messi told Diario Ole: “I like Tata Martino. He is a great coach and he showed that in the Clausura with what he did for the team, the way it ended and how he did it. He gets his teams playing well and we all respect him.”
The World Player of the Year and Martino share a few notable connections, the biggest being that the pair are both from the city of Rosario. In addition, Messi began his career in the youth ranks at Newell’s Old Boys, the Argentinian side where Martino starred as a player and managed to the Argentinian Clausura title this past season.
Martino, who is out of contract at Newell’s, is currently holding talks with Barcelona’s sporting director, Andoni Zubizarreta, in Buenos Aires. Puyol discussed Martino in a post-training news conference on Monday noting that the 50 year old’s philosophies chime well with Barcelona’s playing style.
Puyol said in a post-training news conference that he was sure sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and the club’s board would hire a coach able to adapt to Barca’s possession-based ethic.
“We know about his career, he is a very good coach,” the Blaugrana captain said. “He likes Barcelona’s playing style.” Puyol went on to add that when Spain met Martino’s Paraguay in the 2010 World Cup, which La Furia Roja won 1-0, he recalled in being “a very difficult, very hard game.”
Besides Martino, the candidates favored to succeed Vilanova include Luis Enrique, Frank de Boer, Rubi, Michael Laudrup, Jurgen Klopp, Marcelo Bielsa and Roberto Mancini. Jupp Heynckes and Feyenoord’s Ronald Koeman have both ruled themselves out of the position.
The world was treated to the rare sight of a shirtless Cristiano Ronaldo as he celebrated the clinching penalty in a win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Milan on Saturday.
Jokes aside, one of the greatest players of his generation did get a moment to remember despite having a rather forgettable 120 minutes beforehand. Ronaldo buried the final penalty to give Real a 5-4 win in kicks after a 1-1 score line post-regulation.
“The penalties are always a lottery, you never know what will happen but our team showed more experience and we showed it by scoring all the penalties. A fantastic night for us.
“It is the end of the season and people are not fit, we have to rest and we have to go for the Euros.”
Then again, when you’re a superstar and have a trio of UCL crowns, you can feel however you like. Ronaldo’s never been a man for John Wooden-style quotes — heck, we’d even take David Beckham’s personality from him — but he’s won it all thrice.
And to be fair, the other two were better games (and performances from him). Ronaldo scored for Manchester United against Chelsea and capped off the scoring in the 2014 Real win over Atleti.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the match-clinching penalty kick after 120 minutes couldn’t separate Real and Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday in Milan.
Sergio Ramos scored an early goal before Yannick Carrasco equalized late, and it took penalty kicks to separate Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty kick early in the second half, and Juanfran was the only player to miss in kicks.
Here’s how kicks played out:
Real Madrid — Lucas Vasquez scores
Atletico Madrid — Griezmann scores
RM — Marcelo scores
AM — Gabi scores
RM — Gareth Bale scores
AM — Saul scores
RM — Ramos scores
AM — Juanfran hits the post
RM — Ronaldo scores
Chippy was the name of the game early, and Atleti clearly wanted to do whatever it took to perturb and even wound Real.
Jan Oblak made a fantastic instinctive save on a sixth minute free kick from Gareth Bale that Casemiro redirected on frame.
Real’s Dani Carvajal picked up an 11th minute yellow card for a late slide tackle on Antoine Griezmann.
The opener came in the 15th minute, as Gareth Bale flicked Toni Kroos’ header onto the doorstep and Ramos ever-so-slightly redirected the chance across the line. He may have also been offside, but the goal counts.
The 33rd minute found Griezmann trying his luck on goal, as Keylor Navas caught the ball for his first real save of the day. Griezmann was firing at will, though the majority of his chances were off frame.
It stayed 1-0 into the break, but changed soon afterwards.
4 – Sergio Ramos is the 4th defender to score in two different #UCL/European Cup finals (Gemmel, Phil Neal and Vasovic). Courage. #uclfinal
Savic just missed being the toe to Diego Godin and Griezmann’s tic-tac when his left-footed tap went wide of the frame in the 55th minute.
Saul knifed a shot wide from the center of the box with a fantastic athletic shot, as Atleti kept control of the play but not the scoreboard.
Real countered with a rare chance in the 70th minute, but Oblak stopped an onrushing Benzema point blank to keep the deficit 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo was fairly anonymous for most of the match, and saw Oblak stop his first real shot in the 78th minute. Gareth Bale then tried a cheeky finish that failed when perhaps an easy shot would’ve done the trick. Would it haunt them?
Sure enough, Atleti dialed up an equalized moments later when Carrasco slid onto the end of Juanfran’s cross to make it 1-1 in the 80th.
We headed to extra time, where an advantage was distinctly in Atletico Madrid’s hands. Diego Simeone had used just one substitution to Real’s three, as Zinedine Zidane exhausted his options in trying to close out his rivals.
The first 15 minutes saw Atleti have some success working down the right side, but Real had the better of the dangerous chances aside from Griezmann flashing an overhead kick high off a corner, the last act of the frame.
The second segment was just as Real-framed, and several chances fell to a trigger shy Lucas. Aside from more silliness from Pepe, the only conclusion was penalty kicks.
In celebration, Carrasco raced toward a pitch side suite and into the arms and lips of what we presume is his partner for a gift that must count as much as a few dozen roses (but probably smelled much worse).