Gerardo “Tata” Martino believed his appointment as Barcelona’s manager in 2013 owed to a recommendation from none other than Lionel Messi and his father Jorge. By his own admission he was a surprise candidate to be their new manager, and though he left after a year in Spain he did so with a significantly higher profile. Since then he has managed Argentina, who he led to successive Copa America finals, and inspired Atlanta United to the MLS Cup, ultimately convincing Mexico to make him their latest head coach.
Once a player under Marcelo Bielsa, with whom he continues to be compared, Martino is also admired by a further fellow Argentinian coach – Lionel Scaloni. “He has a very clear idea (of how to play),” he said ahead of a fixture between Argentina and Martino’s admired Mexico. “It’s very important for us to play against not just ‘Tata”, but this Mexico national team that I’m totally sure would be a very difficult challenge for any national team.”