Mexico officially unveiled Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino as their new head coach Monday, as the Argentine coach finally arrived as El Tri’s new boss after months of rumors.
Martino, 56, announced in October that he would be leaving Atlanta United after leading them in their first two years as a franchise in Major League Soccer. He left ATL in the best way possible, delivering MLS Cup in front of a sell-out crowd of over 73,000 fans.
As for his new gig with Mexico, Martino will be working with a team which is undoubtedly the strongest in the CONCACAF region and is coming off the back of a very decent 2018 World Cup where they got out of a ‘Group of Death’ then pushed Brazil hard but fell in the Round of 16 for the seventh-straight tournament.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s rollercoaster reign ended with that defeat, and El Tri have not had a permanent coach for the past six months with Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti in charge on an interim basis.
Speaking about his appointment, Tata revealed he has a strong squad which can already implement his philosophy and he intends to spend the next few months visiting his players in Mexico and also connecting with many of the El Tri players based in Europe.
“I am thankful for this new project here with the Mexican federation. I am grateful for doing this process respectfully between Atlanta and Mexico. I thank you for being patient… What interests me most is that the team has a strong playing style. That’ll get us closer to where we want to be,” Martino said. “First thing is to visit clubs in Mexico, to connect with the coaches at the clubs… If there is time then we’ll go to Europe. If there isn’t we’ll look to talk to all of the players.”
There is no doubt that Martino was worth the wait, as the former Paraguay and Argentina manager has a wealth of experience at international level, and his resume at Barcelona and top South American clubs such as Newell’s Old Boys speaks for itself.
What he achieved at Atlanta United saw his stock rise rapidly after the tough time he endured at Barca, and the fact he is coaching Mexico instead of the U.S. men’s national team will be tough pill for a lot of USMNT fans to swallow.
Martino was reportedly ruled out of the running to become the new USMNT head coach due to the language barrier, as he does not speak English fluently.
His first two games in charge of Mexico will be on U.S. soil in March, with El Tri playing against Chile in San Diego, CA and Paraguay in Santa Clara, CA. His next big test is the 2019 Gold Cup across the U.S. this summer, as Mexico are the red-hot favorites.
Martino will soon find out that the extreme pressure of Mexico’s fans mean that he will have to deliver success right away.