Martino: Messi helped hire me

Gerardo Martino has reflected on his surprise at being handed the Barcelona job, his belief Lionel Messi was involved and how he will adapt to the Catalans.

The Camp Nou outfit yesterday confirmed the Argentine as their new Coach to replace Tito Vilanova, who last week had to step down due to ill health.

At a Press conference in Argentina, the former Newell’s Old Boys tactician reflected on his new role and on how he believes the club’s No 10 and his father Jorge Messi played his part.

“I do not know the details nor the depth, but Jorge and Lionel have spoken with the club’s and have been asked their opinion,” commented Martino to reporters this week.

“I do not know the percentages or what happened, but thank you. Every Argentine should thank them.

“Did training Messi attract me to the job? From the outside it is what you may think, whilst obviously within the context of what it means to be Coach of Barcelona, it is also something of importance to train the world’s best player.

“We will find the best set-up so that we can help him to remain the special player that he is.

“How will Barca play under me? We understand the institution that we join, the history of the club. It is us that has to adapt ourselves to that institution.

“It is a very important challenge to insert myself in a club of this magnitude, to do it in the best way and then make sure we are how prestigious clubs always are – protagonists in every competition.”

The Coach admitted that the call to train the Catalans came as a surprise.

“I cannot say enough how proud I am to have the chance to work with Barcelona. I had practically prepared for a rest and to wait for a job offer and I cannot say that I had expected this.

“Barca’s call caught me off guard, but it fills me with pride. The news of Tito Vilanova’s illness was unexpected.”

Both Malaga and Real Sociedad saw talks with the 50-year-old break down earlier this summer, when he was still training Newell’s Old Boys.

“I do not have much to say. Sometimes these situations happen unexpectantly. What I was doing with Newell’s did not allow me to look at something else. Afterwards, this occurred.

“Training at Barcelona is an opportunity to work somewhere very important. I am very grateful that the people of Barcelona chose me.

“The size of the squad at Barcelona, with Leo, is a situation that every Coach wants and obviously what concerns me is being able to make a real contribution to the institution.”

One contribution may be on how Martino lines up Neymar in the same team as Messi.

“Each situation must be experienced. You have to adapt, we must recognise and accommodate according to the previous day.

“I hope to accommodate him. I understand and want to talk about this and the gratitude that I have, the need to give everyone who has worked an opportunity.”

Tags Martino Messi Neymar Vilanova