Barcelona have confirmed that Gerardo Martino has been appointed as their new head coach on a two-year deal, replacing the outgoing Tito Vilanova.
As reported by The Independent last night, officials had put in place a deal that would see Martino take over at the Nou Camp, having left his former club Newell's Old Boys earlier this summer.
Vilanova was forced to resign after just a year as head coach when he suffered a relapse in his battle with throat cancer, having suffered a similar misfortune mid-way through his tenure in December last year.
At that time he was temporarily replaced by his assistant manager Joao Porta, but Barcelona decided to bring in a new face to takeover this time around.
‘Tata’, as he is known, was given the seal of approval yesterday by Balon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, who believed he was the right man for the job.
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."
Meanwhile, current club captain Carlos Puyol also agreed that the move would be a good one for the club as they seek to continue their style of play that has encapsulated so many over the last decade.
"I know (Tata) is a very good coach, who likes the style of the club,” Puyol told Spanish newspaper Marca.
Martino managed Paraguay’s national side between 2006 and 2011, leading them in the 2010 Fifa World Cup where they reached the quarter-finals after coming through a group that contained Italy, Slovakia and New Zealand. Everton’s Antolin Alcaraz scored in their 1-1 draw with the Italians, and they were eventually knocked out by eventual winners Spain.
He has earned success in South America having won the Paraguayan Primera Division on three occasions with Libertad, and a further league success with Cerro Porteno.