Reports out of Spain indicate that Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has agreed to a three year deal to take over as manager of Barcelona.
The Catalan club is expected to formally announce the appointment of Martino in a matter of hours.
News of the hiring broke from Barcelona-based sports daily, Mundo Deportivo, and has since been confirmed by numerous authorities in and around Spain including newspaper Diario AS and journalists Graham Hunter and Ben Smith.
Martino is set to arrive in Barcelona on Tuesday but reportedly will not accompany the team to Munich, where the Blaugrana will participate in the Audi Cup. Reports claim that Elvio Paolorroso and Jorge Pautasso also have been hired as Martino’s assistants.
Martino has been touted for his work ethic and style, which is similar to that of former Athletic Bilbao manager Marcelo Bielsa, who Martino was a key player for in the Newell’s Old Boys side that Bielsa managed in the early 1990s. Both Martino and Bielsa are from Rosario, Argentina, which also happens to be the home of World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi.
Martino has praised Barcelona in the past, saying he “identifies” with their style, and that they have an “ability to keep the ball in tight spaces that few teams can match.”
Martino will take over for former Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova, who was forced to leave the Catalan club to undergo treatment for throat cancer.