Former Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has been named as the new head coach of Argentina, the treasurer of the Argentine Football Association, Jose Lemme, has confirmed.
He succeeds Alejandro Sabella, whose contract ended after he had guided his country to the World Cup final, where they lost to Germany. Martino, 51, parted company with Barca in May after just one season in charge, shortly after they surrendered their La Liga title to Atletico Madrid.
He led Paraguay to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup, then managed Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina before moving to Barcelona after the departure of Tito Vilanova. He will reunite with Lionel Messi, who had publicly called on Sabella to change tactics after a slow start to Argentina’s World Cup campaign. When appointed at the Nou Camp, Martino declared he felt that Messi have had a role in his getting the role.
Speaking to TyC Sports, Lemme explained there had been "no problems" over a deal with Martino and that he would be presented to the press this week, with the AFA later confirming the news via a statement on their official website. Martino’s deal is expected to last until the conclusion of the qualifying campaign for World Cup 2018, with an automatic renewal triggered should Argentina reach the finals in Russia.
The former Newell’s Old Boys boss is expected to oversee the entire structure of the national team setup, including the youth levels, as he prepares for his first major test with the senior side at the 2015 Copa America.
Sabella began coaching Argentina in 2011, succeeding Diego Maradona. Argentina lost to Germany 1-0 in this month’s final. Sabella has talked of being worn out since the World Cup, saying he needs a rest.