Barca's Valdes hails Martino's hunger
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes says the main message he and his teammates have received from new coach Gerardo Martino is that they must retain their hunger for winning trophies.
The Argentinian coach met his new squad and coaching staff for the first time on Saturday morning before watching them trounce Norwegian side Valerenga 7-0 in Oslo. Martino takes over a side that in the past five years has won four Primera Division titles, two Champions League trophies and the Copa del Rey twice.
But speaking during a promotional day in Barcelona, Valdes revealed that the new boss has urged his players to keep on striving for even more success.
"He told us that we cannot lose our desire to win," he said. "We were only able to speak for a little bit, but we could see he was very excited, this is a huge project. He'll want to make his own mark on the team and show his personality. He seems like a coach who is very close to his players. Above all, he asked us to keep on winning. Little by little we will start to see what his style is."
Martino is the sixth coach Valdes has worked with in his 11-year career with the Catalan side, and he insisted the team will treat their new boss like any other.
"The squad has always adapted to every coach we have had, " he added. "We are a team of very good sportsmen and very good people and we will carry out the orders he gives us, as we have done with every other coach. He has told us that he will also try and adapt to the team so he doesn't change the dynamics too much. I think he is a very positive appointment."
Valdes, whose contract with Barcelona expires next June, confirmed he would leave the club at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, stressing that "it will be a very special season".
Maxi Rodriguez, captain of Newell's Old Boys, believes Barcelona have chosen the "ideal" coach in Gerardo Martino after the Argentine was appointed last week.
The Argentina midfielder returned to his boyhood club Newell's last year after a decade in Europe with Espanyol, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, and after spending a year working under Martino, believes his former coach has the right philosophy and mentality to be a hit at the Nou Camp.
He told AS: "Barca have got one of the best coaches that has come out of Argentina in recent times, without any doubt. Martino has always liked his teams to have the ball and play possession football, so he has a style of play that they are well used to seeing at the Camp Nou."
Rodriguez also explained Martino's style of play.
"His usual formation is a 4-3-3, although he can make interesting alternations. He allows players to change position and gives them freedom, but the only thing he asks is that you do what you were coached the previous week. He and his staff are simple people who adapt easily to any circumstance. I'm certain he is the ideal coach for Barcelona."
Although Martino is taking a radical step in his career by moving from Newell's to the Catalan giants, Rodriguez is convinced that he will be able to contribute a lot to the Primera Division champions.
"Everyone can learn something important from him," he said. "He is a talker, he is close to his players, and he wants to listen in order to learn. Look how he changed the history of Newell's. When he arrived, the team were destined for relegation, which would have been a disaster. But all of us turned the situation around by believing in his message from day one and a few weeks ago on the streets of Rosario we celebrated winning the league title."