New Barcelona manager: Seven things you need to know about Tata Martino

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arcelona were rocked by the news that Tito Vilanova would be stepping down as first team coach last Friday, after the Catalan was informed by doctors that his next round of treatment wouldn’t be compatible with continuing as FCB gaffer.

The club already had emergency plans in place, however, with reports in Catalonia saying that Vilanova himself gave them the go-ahead to look for a fallback option several months ago.

That option has been revealed as Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, who will arrive in Barcelona fresh off the back of a hugely successful year with Argentinian club Newell’s Old Boys. talkSPORT look at seven things you need to know about the manager tipped to take over in Catalonia…

1) A move to Barcelona wouldn’t be Tata’s first spell in Europe and, indeed, his brief adventure on that very continent as a player included a trip to the Camp Nou. Way back on the 2 March, 1991, Tata was handed his Tenerife debut on Barcelona soil and, in a strange coincidence, at the other end of the pitch in the FCB goal was Andoni Zubizarreta, the very man who will now hire him as Barcelona coach. The game wasn’t a classic, ending 1-0 to Barca thanks to a penalty from Bulgarian star Hristo Stoichkov.

2) Tata’s Barcelona links don’t stop there. The last team the Argentine played for in his career was Barcelona, but not the Catalan one. In 1996 he played briefly for Barcelona de Guayaquil in Ecuador, before retiring from the game.

3) Several of the Barca players will remember Tata well from his spell as a Paraguay boss. The coach led the South American side in an unlikely run to the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, before they were defeated 1-0 by Spain in Johannesburg. The game was fiercely contested and Paraguay had a chance to score before Spain, seeing a penalty saved by Iker Casillas, before David Villa eventually settled the clash with the only goal of the game in the 83rd minute.

4) Tata is a ‘pupil’ of Marcelo Bielsa, who most recently spent time at Athletic Bilbao, leading them to Copa del Rey and Europa League finals in 2012. Martino was a key player in Bielsa’s Newell’s side of the early 1990s and his own style is said to have taken much from his former master. That is particularly appropriate, as the contemporary Barcelona side also owes much to Bielsa’s methods. Pep Guardiola famously made a trip to Argentina to learn from Bielsa prior to his first steps as a manager, and it is El Loco‘s frantic pressing game that Guardiola used to revolutionise Barcelona’s football.
Read more @Talksport

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