Why is this so monumental?
Martino was born in Rosario, Argentina and spent most of his playing career for Newell’s Old Boys, a sports club based in his hometown and that was established in 1903. In a 2003 fan’s poll, Martino was voted the greatest player of all-time in Newell’s Old Boys history. He also holds a club record for most appearances with the team (505 matches). Additionally, Martino was a force on the pitch by scoring 35 goals over 10 years. He was a phenomenal player that could be counted on and then some.
His coaching track record, however, could be coined even more impressive. In 2007, Martino was awarded the South American Coach of the Year soon after taking over as Paraguay’s manager. He then led Paraguay to the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the best finish in the country’s history. And Martino wasn’t done there. The Paraguayan national team finished second the following year in the 2011 Copa America, losing to Uruguay in the finals.
Following his success with Paraguay, Martino went back to his hometown of Rosario and coached his former team, Newell’s Old Boys, to the semi-finals in the 2013 Copa Libertadores. This feat was particularly impressive, as the organization had been in a competitive slump for years, until Martino helped lead the club out of a relegation battle when he first took over. Martino’s achievements started to turn the heads of clubs all around the world. In 2013, Martino signed a deal with La Liga powerhouse FC Barcelona.
Martino’s successful career carried over to Barcelona as well. He became the first coach in Barcelona history to remain undefeated through their first 14 league matches. After just one year at the club, Martino decided to leave Barcelona and coach the Argentine National Team. He took the team to the finals of the Copa América in 2016, eventually falling to Chile on penalties.
As mentioned, Gerardo Martino coached some of the greatest teams in the world, including FC Barcelona as well as the Argentine and Paraguayan National Teams. The playing style he inspires in his players and teams is centered around three core principles: attack-minded football, creative playmaking, and quick-passing. This makes sense, given that he coached FC Barcelona, a team renowned for its “tiki-tika,” imaginative playing style.
Who has he coached?
Lionel Messi (Argentine National Team, FC Barcelona)
Javier Macherano (Argentine National Team, FC Barcelona)
Sergio Agüero (Argentine National Team)
Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentine National Team)
Ángel Di Maria (Argentine National Team)
Carlos Teves (Argentine National Team)
Carles Puyol (FC Barcelona)
Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona)
Neymar (FC Barcelona)
Xavi (FC Barcelona)
Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
Cesc Fabregas (FC Barcelona)
Alexis Sánchez (FC Barcelona)
Salvador Cabañas (Paraguayan National Team)
Why did he choose Atlanta?
“I chose Atlanta because it was a unique job proposal. It’s a franchise that’s beginning to develop. You are assembling a club from scratch, the first team as well as the academy, and I find it that very attractive at this stage in my career. To have the chance to take (a new team) forward will be a challenge.” – Tata Martino