La Liga

Martino to be presented on Friday

Gerardo Martino
New Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino will face the world's media on Friday.
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Barcelona have announced that new coach Gerardo Martino will be officially unveiled at the club on Friday.

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The 50-year-old Argentinian was confirmed as the new Barca boss on Tuesday, succeeding Tito Vilanova, who stepped down from the role on Friday after one season in charge as he continues his battle with cancer.

Martino is due to fly into Barcelona on Thursday afternoon afternoon and will pose for the traditional photo outside the club's offices at 1830 local time, the Catalan club have announced in a statement.

He will sign a two-year contract with the Primera Division champions on Friday morning before holding his first official press conference as club coach at 1300 local time.

Like Barca superstar Lionel Messi, Martino is a native of Rosario, and he spent 14 years of his playing career with local club Newell's Old Boys, the club Messi played for as a junior before moving to Barcelona aged 13.

Martino also led Newell's to the Argentinian Clausura title last season as coach before stepping down from the post, and last night he held a farewell press conference in Rosario, in which he declared his belief that Messi and his father Jorge played a key role in Barcelona appointing him as Vilanova's successor.

He said: "I have no doubts that Messi spoke with the club directors. I'm sure that Jorge and Leo have had some weight in this decision."

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