Lionel Messi has denied having had any say in Barcelona’s hiring of Gerardo Martino, but is looking forward to working with him.
The Argentine Coach was confirmed earlier this week as the Catalans’ choice to replace Tito Vilanova, who had to step down last Friday due to ill health.
At a farewell Press conference with Newell’s Old Boys, Martino commented on his belief that Messi and his father Jorge Messi played their part in his selection.
However, after taking part in Barca’s first preseason game of the summer, a 2-0 defeat to Bayern, the No 10 distanced himself from this claim.
“I have had nothing to do with the signing of Martino nor do I have to give explanations as to why,” Messi told reporters afterwards.
“His appointment is an action of the club and President Sandro Rosell. At the time I said that he looked like a good Coach, but I don’t have to explain anything.
“I do not know him personally. I have not met him ever, neither him nor Luis Enrique, who was the other one outlined for the post.
“I believe that Martino’s signing is good as he has come to win and he has shown at Newell’s and with the Paraguay national team that he is capable. Hopefully we will do well.
“We are going to start again after what happened with Tito, we must prepare for a tough year. We’re very sorry for what has happened but the team is strong. We have to keep on moving forward.”
The Argentine saw his performance the last time he was at the Allianz Arena hit by a thigh injury.
“Luckily, my injury is a thing of the past. I’ve completely recovered. I’m very eager to start the season.”