We need a replacement, as in now, as it seems that I overlooked someone

Gerardo Martino
Gerardo “Tata” Martino

Pros: The South American Coach of the Year (2007)  has won four league titles in Paraguay and the Clausura tournament in his home country, Argentina, with Newell’s Old Boys. He has also led relatively modest clubs Libertad and Newell’s to the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores.

Like many South American managers who have shaken the mad man’s hand, he is known as a Bielsista. Yet Martino actually played under Bielsa for their hometown’s main club in the early nineties and later worked as his assistant. He certainly advocates a similar style of football: vertical, possession-based and a defense based on intensive pressing to recuperate the ball.

He is nothing if not pragmatic, however, as he proved while managing the Paraguay national team, whom he led to the World Cup Quarter Finals in South Africa and to the final of the Copa America in 2011 with a doggedly defensive strategy that was set up to prevent goals, shots, dribbles and entertainment.

Cons: Although his Newell’s Old Boys and Paraguay national side performed well above the public’s expectations, Gerardo Martino has only won trophies with Club Libertad en Cerro Porteño in one of South America’s less prestigious football leagues. And while he did spend one year at Tenerife as a player, he does not have the experience of ever coaching Europe.

Also, and perhaps more alarmingly, the argument has been made that his Bielsista approach causes his teams to burn out by the end of the season, as happened with Newell’s, who lost the League Championship final and the Copa Libertadores semi finals after running out of steam. 

Probability 10/10: There’s left field, and there is the southwest corner on the map. Whether or not Tata’s inexperience in Europe will prove to be a handicap remains to be seen, but his appointment has certainly caught many of us by surprise. Sometimes in life, we just have to pick our jaws up from the floor and carry on.

Verdict x/10: To be completely honest, I can’t even begin to speculate how this move will work out for us. What we want, is someone who can win over the dressing room and who can implement some subtle changes to a team that, although possessing the best players of the world, showed some glaring weaknesses when up against first class opponents last season. What we got, is something of an x-factor.

From what I gather, Tata’s footballing style and philosophy are compatible with ours. Then again, the only team of his I have seen play is Paraguay. This could be viewed as a negative, for a similar defensive approach would not be accepted in the Camp Nou, but I disagree. A good coach sets up his team according to its players strenghts and weaknesses.

I certainly think that one of Martino’s big challenges will be to get players who have won it all (and then some) to believe in him. There are no guarantees, here. We have seen how one of the world’s best managers, whose motivation skills were widely (albeit grudgingly in some quarters) admired, got chewed up and spit out by our royal rivals last season. Likewise, some of the toughest decisions our new coach could possibly want to make (limit Puyol’s and Xavi’s playing time) might not go down all that well with our dressing room heavyweights.

It is said that Tata is a better communicator than Marcelo Bielsa, the man he is most compared with. He will need to be, just as we will need to be patient. Last year was supposed to be our transition year and it turned out to be a record-breaking year, during which our biggest victories were the return of Tito and Eric Abidal. Then life happened, and who knows how this year will unfold. What I do know is that we will support the club we love, regardless.

Benvingut, Tata! Visca Barça!


Categorized as Barcelona

By Levon

Culé since way before football boots were of the neon yellow and lizard green variety, Levon is a deep thinker with increasingly shallow thoughts. He lives in Barcelona with his gorgeous wife and daughter. The lucky bastard...


  1. The fifth blackout in like three days prevented me from watching today’s match…

    I said I had some knowledge of Català? I don’t know if those were my exact words, but being fluent in both Spanish and French certainly helps me understand your language (somewhat). A lot of the vocabulary shares the same roots (gracies – gracias, sisplau – s’il vous plaît, etc.)… I always wondered, though, what is the function of the “bàckwàrds àccènt”? Is it the same as the “fórwárds áccént” in Spanish?

    Honestly, who knows how he would have developed had he not sustained that serious injury that made him miss most of his second (first complete) season? A very talented footballer who, by the way, never was a winger to begin with.

    @best players of the world
    Like Kxevin said, it is obvious that no team has the best players of the world at every position. I agree that it would have been more accurate to write “the best player of the world and some of the best of the rest”, but that is such a mouthful, isn’t it? I still think that talent-wise, we have the best squad (although not necessarily the best balanced squad)

    1. Afellay is the king of hard luck. When we bought him for 3m (hence his nickname when with the club) the rumor was that he was injured a lot, and never little ones like Adriano, but big ones. Shame, really.

  2. I was waiting for the wise one to speak. Here it is.. (via Marca)

    César Luis Menotti, the last Argentine to manage Barcelona until Tata Martino’s arrival, spoke to Radio MARCA about the job awaiting his fellow countryman.

    “He’ll have to get to know the players. A coach has to strike a balance and Martino is more than capable of that. It’s a clear-cut plan, but there is always room for improvement. The fact that the team has such an incredible track record will help him,” said Menotti.

    “I’ve always heard Martino say that he was happy whenever Barcelona won. He has always backed good football,” he added.

    Menotti played down the fact that Martino has not coached in Europe before: “Newell’s is a tough club to manage. When you lose you can’t even go out on the street. I always told Schuster that it was harder to coach in Argentina than in Spain. Martino is young, but he’s already coached a team at the World Cup.”

    “He’ll have to get to know what Catalonia and Barcelona are all about in order to get the most out of the team. I don’t think that anybody would dare to change a formula that has produced 15 titles, not Martino and not new signings like Neymar,” Menotti told Radio MARCA listeners.

    “Martino is lucky to have Mascherano, Piqué, Alves, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi… Having those kinds of players makes it easy for a coach. He’ll make observations and he’s open to talking with his players, but under no circumstances will Martino change a winning formula,” he said before joking: “Martino’s incurable flaw is that he’s a Newell’s fan.”

    1. Yay! A CB prospect! Think I can sleep well tonight.

      But will he be compatible with Pique? “Too handsome” issue? – I really don’t care!

      Lets get him and then search for a LCB.

  3. The strength of this Bayern team is the depth of its bench and its willingness to do whatever’s needed to win the game. They bossed possession (when was that last time that happened against Barca?) and were merciless on the counter.
    I was rather impressed by the way the Bs (quoth Kxevin) behaved in the second half against a clearly superior team. Maybe there is hope.
    Two defenders must be brought in though, and I really don’t mind sacrificing Fabregas to obtain them.

  4. The first again showed what we lack in defence..height..Masch couldn’t reach the ball as Lahm easily jumped and slotted in the header without any problems…Pique is the only one(with Busi) who provides height..We need some one with height..

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