Lionel Messi denies playing role in appointment of Gerardo Martino as Barcelona coach

The new manager himself hinted he thought the world's best player had an influence

Lionel Messi insists he had nothing to do with the appointment of Gerardo Martino as Barcelona coach.

Martino said in a press conference on Tuesday night that he was sure fellow Argentinian Messi and his father Jorge had put in a good word for him with the Barcelona hierarchy before the Catalan giants offered him the job.

Both Messi and Martino are from Rosario and Messi has in the past spoken in glowing terms of his compatriot.

However, the four-time Ballon d'Or winner has said he had no influence in Barca's decision.

"I have nothing to do with Martino's signing nor do I have to give any explanations. It was down to president (Sandro) Rosell and the club. I said before that he seemed a good coach, but I don't have to explain anything," he was quoted as saying by AS following Barca's friendly defeat to Bayern Munich.

"I don't know him personally, I've never met him. Not him nor Luis Enrique, the other one they've been talking about.

"I think he's a good signing, he showed at Newell's and with Paraguay what he's capable of. Hopefully he'll be good for us."

Martino, who led Newell's Old Boys to the Argentinian Clausura title last season and guided Paraguay to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup and final of the 2011 Copa America, has agreed a two-year contract with Barca and will be presented tomorrow lunchtime.

The 50-year-old replaces Tito Vilanova, who stepped down from the post last Friday as he continues his battle with cancer.

Messi sat out Barca's final three games of last season with a hamstring problem but he started the club's opening pre-season friendly against Bayern before being replaced at half-time.

He said: "Luckily, my injury is now behind me. I'm completely recovered and I'm really looking forward to the new season."

Regarding the change in coach, the Argentina ace added on his club's website: "We're very sorry for what has happened but the team is strong. We have to keep on moving forward."

Even with Messi in the starting line-up, Barca were unable to gain a measure of revenge against Bayern for the 7-0 aggregate mauling they suffered at the hands of the German giants in last season's Champions League semi-finals.

Treble-winners Bayern, now under the leadership of former Barca coach Pep Guardiola, won the friendly 2-0 at the Allianz Arena with Philipp Lahm opening the scoring in the 14th minute and Mario Mandzukic adding a second three minutes from time.

Barca goalkeeper Jose Pinto, whose side were missing their Spain internationals and summer signing Neymar, said: "It was the first match of the pre-season. We didn't get a good result but what's important is that the match will help us improve and get in shape."

Defender Marc Bartra added: "It was a complicated match. Bayern are on better form than we are and it was obvious."

Jordi Roura, who took over the reins last season when Vilanova was undergoing treatment for his cancer in the United States, and recently-appointed assistant Rubi have taken charge of Barca on an interim basis ahead of Martino's arrival.

The former Paraguay coach is due to be officially unveiled by Barca tomorrow and Bartra, 22, is hoping to impress the new boss.

He said: "I'm very eager to start working with Martino.

"I have to keep on giving 100 per cent and try to win my spot in the starting line-up regardless of who the manager is."

Barca's Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez added of Martino: "I'm looking forward to meeting him. He's very highly thought of in Chile.

"I'm also looking forward to playing with Neymar, Messi, (Andres) Iniesta...with everyone. It's a great team!"

PA

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss