Atlanta United have announced that Gerardo “Tata” Martino will leave them at the end of the 2018 Major League Soccer season.
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Martino, 55, has been heavily linked with taking charge of the Mexican national team, with reports suggesting that he will be appointed after the final day of the 2018 season.
It has also been reported that the former Argentina and Barcelona coach is not in contention for the vacant USMNT head coach position because he doesn’t speak English fluently.
In a statement released on their website, Atalanta revealed that “the club will immediately begin a detailed global search for a replacement” after “amicable negotiations between Atlanta United and Martino regarding the option to extend his contract” where he made the decision to move on for personal reasons.
“This was not an easy decision to make, I have enjoyed my time with Atlanta United very much and am proud of what we have accomplished together in such a short time,” Martino said. “The decision was not made for financial reasons, negotiations with the front office were transparent and fair. It was simply the right move for me and my family at this time. The opportunity to build a team from the start does not come along often, and I am grateful to the club and to the fans for putting their trust in me to establish a solid foundation here in Atlanta. What is most important now is that the focus remain on our goals for this season.”
Martino has led Atlanta to back-to-back playoff berths in their first two campaigns as an MLS franchise, with ATL currently in first place in the Eastern Conference heading into their final game of the season at Toronto FC on Sunday.
Atlanta are the heavy favorites to win the East and also clinch the Supporters’ Shield and their arrival in MLS, under the stewardship of Martino, has been one of the great success stories in MLS history. With Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba and Barco stars in Georgia, the Argentine coach has created one of the greatest attacking machines MLS has ever season with Martinez setting the single-season goalscoring record with 30 goals in 2018 with one game to go.
They’ve also recorded the highest-ever average attendance during the MLS regular season, with an average of 53,002 fans packing the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to create a phenomenal atmosphere.
Martino’s departure was expected but it will leave a huge hole for president Darren Eales and technical director Carlos Bocanegra to fill.