Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Gerardo Martino believes Lionel Messi had a say in his recruitment as Barcelona manager.
Gerardo Martino believes Lionel Messi had a say in his recruitment as Barcelona manager.

Transfer talk: Cesc Fabregas future priority for new Barcelona manager

Offer to manage Spanish Primera Liga champions came as a surprise for Gerardo Martino, former Argentina midfielder says.

The future of Cesc Fabregas, the Manchester United target, will be among the priority issues for Gerardo Martino, the new Barcelona head coach.

Barcelona confirmed on Tuesday they have struck an agreement for Martino to take over at the Nou Camp on a two-year deal.

The 50-year-old Argentine succeeds Tito Vilanova, who stepped down from the role on Friday after one season in charge as he continues his battle with cancer.

It is not yet known when Martino will begin work at the Nou Camp, but it seems likely the transfer saga surrounding Fabregas will still be rumbling on with United reluctant to throw in the towel.

United have already made two bids for the former Arsenal captain but, with Barcelona continuing to insist the Spain midfielder is not for sale, the Red Devils could return with a third offer.

Fabregas was not on the agenda on Tuesday night as Martino held a news conference in Rosario where he admitted Barcelona's interest had come out of the blue.

The former Paraguay manager also believes fellow Argentine Lionel Messi had a say in his appointment.

Both Martino and Messi are from the Rosario region of Argentina and the four-time Ballon d'Or winner has spoken in glowing terms about his compatriot in the past.

Martino suspects Messi put in a good word for him with the Barcelona hierarchy.

"I don't know the details of the situation, [but] I have no doubts that Messi spoke with the club directors. I'm sure that Jorge [Messi's father] and Leo have had some weight in this decision," said Martino, who is looking forward to working with the world's top player.

"As well as the responsibility of being the coach of Barcelona, it's obviously a huge responsibility to coach the best player in the world. We will try to find the right formula so that we can help him continue to be the extraordinary player he already is."

A host of managers were linked to the position at Barcelona, including Luis Enrique, Andre Villas-Boas, Marcelo Bielsa, Michael Laudrup and Guus Hiddink.

However, Martino emerged as the favourite over the weekend and the former Argentina midfielder said: "Of course it took me by surprise.

"I had virtually prepared myself to take a break and wait for the right job opportunity to arise.

"It's a big challenge to join a club of this magnitude and to try to do a good job. As with every big club, I want our team to be serious candidates to win every competition."

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Players such as George Springer are a sign that things are starting to swing in the Houston Astros' favour. But more help is needed. Scott Halleran / AFP

Houston Astros are still earth-bound but help is on the way

As harbingers of a new era go, the Houston Astros could have done worse than misspelling their new phenom’s name on his major-league debut.

 Luis Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score 30 Premier League goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1987. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Sterling and Suarez inpire Liverpool to win over Norwich City

The win takes the Premier League table-toppers to 80 points from 35 games.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Chelsea’s manager Jose Mourinho, second from right, holds back assistant coach Rui Faria, centre, after he was sent off by referee Mike Dean, left, during their Premier League match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London. Philip Brown / Reuters

Angry Jose Mourinho mocks referees for ‘fantastic performance’ after Chelsea defeat

Manager targets Mike Dean, who awarded the 82nd-minute penalty from which Fabio Borini scored the winning goal for Sunderland.

 Michelle Wie’s other two LPGA titles also came in North America, at the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and at Canadian Women’s Open in August of 2010. Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Michelle Wie’s win snaps LPGA title drought

The American, who erased a four-shot deficit to win with a 14-under par total of 274, wins her third career LPGA crown.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National