Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Barcelona set to ignore big names and go for Gerardo Martino

Paraguay's coach Gerardo Martino

Gerardo Martino has emerged as the likely replacement for Tito Vilanova as Barcelona coach .

According to widespread media reports in Spain yesterday, the Argentinian is set to be confirmed as the next Barca boss on a three-year contract following talks today.

The 50-year-old led Newell's Old Boys to the Argentinian Clausura title last season but recently severed ties with the club.

Barcelona have made no official announcement as yet. The Spanish champions are searching for a new coach after announcing on Friday night that Vilanova was stepping down from the post as he continues in his battle with cancer.

The 44-year-old, who led Barca to the Primera Division title in his only season in charge after replacing Pep Guardiola last summer, had a tumour removed from his throat in late 2011, but suffered a relapse a year after.

He underwent another operation on his parotid gland in December before beginning a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in New York.

A host of coaches had been linked to the vacant position, including former Barcelona B boss Luis Enrique, Andre Villas-Boas, Marcelo Bielsa, Michael Laudrup, Rubi and most recently Guus Hiddink, who yesterday resigned as coach Anzhi Makhachkala.

However, it seems Martino is now poised to take the reigns at the Catalan giants. Barca captain Carles Puyol was asked about the possible options at a press conference and he stressed the importance of bringing in a coach who believes in the club's "philosophy".

He said: "I think all the names that have been mentioned are capable of coaching this team. We all know that Zubi (sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta) and the board are working hard and we're sure they'll bring us the best coach. We have a certain way of playing; a philosophy.

"I know (Martino) is a very good coach, who likes the style of the club. And you all know that I have a very good relationship with Luis (Enrique) - he's one of the most accomplished names - but I like all the others who have been mentioned."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre