- Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina
- Previous Clubs: Almirante Brown, Platense, Instituto, Club Libertad, Cerro Porteño, Colón de Santa Fe, Club Libertad, Newell's Old Boys,
- Honours: Paraguayan League: 2002, 2004, 2006; Apertura: 2002, 2006; Argentinian Primera División Torneo Final: 2013
Gerardo 'Tata' Martino was a little-known name across Europe prior to his recent appointment as Barcelona manager but has the chance to establish himself on a new continent after plenty of success in South America.
The Argentine spent the best part of his career in his homeland and, despite a lengthy and relatively successful spell as Paraguay coach, has little managerial experience at the top level. His time at Barcelona will be under scrutiny as he looks to prove himself on the European stage for the first time.
Martino began his career as a player, coming through the ranks at Newell's Old Boys in Argentina. Starring as an attacking midfielder, Martino spent 10 years in the first-team before a brief stint in Spain at Tenerife, where he played against his current employers.
He ended his spell in Europe in 1991 and returned to Argentina. After three more years at Newell's, and over 80 more appearances, including a solitary match for the Argentina national team, he moved across to Lanus. Martino didn't stay long however, and was back at Newell's Old Boys in 1996, just in time to be there when a certain Lionel Messi joined the club's youth ranks.
Martino was soon out the door again, though, this time signing for Barcelona SC, the Ecuadorian club for whom he played only five matches. A year later and he finished his career at O'Higgins in Chile. Those last few seasons were less than spectacular for Martino, but he bowed out as a hero back at Old Boys, having made 505 appearances for the club in all competitions and claiming three Argentine league titles.
Before his playing career ended, Martino had an interest in coaching, especially under Marcelo 'El Loco' Bielsa while the 58-year-old was in charge of Newells in 1990. Martino moved into his management career swiftly after retirement, taking charge of Almirante Brown de Arrecifes in the lower echelons of the Argentine football league in 1998.
A year later he was at Platense, and then Instituto, before he found his place at Libertad in 2002. Martino won three Paraguayan league titles there in 2002, 2003, and 2006 -- also winning it in 2004 during a spell with Cerro Porteno. Such a spell of dominance caught the eye, and he moved to Club Atlético Colón, back to Libertad, and then on to the Paraguay national team job in 2007.
Martino impressed with Paraguay, winning South American Coach of the Year in 2007 and winning much acclaim for the team's style of football as they punched above their weight making it to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup. A year later he took Paraguay to the final of the Copa America, but suffered disappointment as his side were beaten 3-0 by Uruguay.
He left Paraguay after that tournament and, at the start of the 2012-13 season, was appointed by his beloved Newell's Old Boys, attracting the attention of Barcelona by winning the country's league title. Before his move to Barcelona, Spanish newspaper Marca reported that the Argentine met with Real Madrid officials over a potential move to the Bernabeu, highlighting the respect 'Tata' commands. But with Carlo Ancelotti joining Madrid, Martino was approached by Barca, who brought him in due to Tito Vilanova's ill health.
Martino is the first foreign manager at Barcelona since Frank Rijkaard left in 2008 and the first Argentine coach to lead the club since 1983. Only time will tell if he can be as successful in Europe as he has been in South America.
Strengths: Martino is an extremely hard-working coach. He studies his opponents in depth and makes sure his own players work as a team, attempting to build on their traditional defensive strengths with a new attacking intent. He also has a reputation as a fantastic man-manager.
Weaknesses: His glaring weakness is his lack of managerial experience in Europe -- he has never had to deal with a dressing-room packed with as many stars as the one he has at Barca.
Career high: Winning the Argentine Premier League with Newell's Old Boys, for whom he had starred as a player.
Career low: Losing 6-0 to Mexico in the quarter-finals of the 2007 Copa America. Martino's attacking tactics had yet to be implemented successfully and, with goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla sent off, they were destroyed.
Tactics: Like Marcelo Bielsa, Martino is a big fan of attacking football, but he tends to adopt a more conservative system than his mentor, switching between 4-4-2 and 4-3-1-2.
Quotes: "I've always been a big fan of his, right from when he was starting out as a coach, which was around the time my playing career was drawing to a close. Straight away, I warmed to his working methods and personality. Do I liken myself to him? Only physically!" - Martino on Marcelo Bielsa
Trivia: In a 2003 fan poll, Martino was voted as Newell Old Boys greatest ever player and he now has a stand named after him at the club's stadium.
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