Barcelona manager latest: Lionel Messi backs Gerardo Martino to replace Tito Vilanova
Andre Villas-Boas and Michael Laudrup have been linked with the vacancy
Monday 22 July 2013
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has spoken glowingly about Gerardo Martino following the emergence of his fellow Argentinian as the favourite to succeed Tito Vilanova in the Nou Camp hot-seat.
Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is reportedly in Buenos Aires today for talks with Martino, who led Newell's Old Boys to the Argentinian Clausura title last season but recently severed ties with the club.
And four-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi would appear to support such an appointment.
He told Diario Ole: "I like Tata Martino. He is a great coach and he showed that in the Clausura with what he did for the team, the way it ended and how he did it. He gets his teams playing well and we all respect him."
The Catalan club announced on Friday night that 44-year-old Vilanova was stepping down as he continues his battle with cancer.
Former Paraguay coach Martino has been heavily tipped to take over ahead of the likes of Andre Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup, Marcelo Bielsa, Luis Enrique and Rubi.
Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman ruled himself out of contention to succeed Vilanova after yesterday's pre-season friendly draw against Dordrecht.
Quoted in the Dutch press, the former Barca and Holland defender said: "That is absolutely not on the cards for me.
"I do not know who it should be. It's not something that affects me now. I'm more worried about the disease Vilanova has."
Barca president Sandro Rosell said on Friday night that the club expect to make an announcement on Vilanova's replacement in the coming days.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Pavement The Forum, London
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans plan protest at the Emirates Stadium because of lack of transfer activity...no-one turns up
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up