Gerardo Martino is the new FC Barcelona manager.
Martino’s hiring did not occur in the best of circumstances as the previous manager, Tito Vilanova, had to step down due to his recurring illness.
It’s been interesting to observe the reaction to Martino’s hiring in Catalunya and all over Europe.
The Catalan media, in its majority, were not very excited about Martino.
Their overwhelming favorite to replace Vilanova was Luis Enrique even though Enrique’s managing experience is limited and despite the fact that Enrique is already under contract with another team in Spain for this upcoming season.
None of that mattered too much to the Catalan media because the difference maker to them was the many years that Enrique played with Barcelona. Having that Barca identity trumped just about everything else and all other manager candidates.
I certainly understand that sentiment but do not think it is the right point of view.
Luis Enrique’s experience as a Barca player is definitely a plus in the sense of him knowing the club, its fans, its history, its demands, and the club’s culture.
But that is not enough.
In football, good players don’t always make good managers and great players too don’t always make great managers. There are many examples. The flip side of that is average players or even worse have become good or even great managers. There are examples of that as well.
Gerardo Martino’s career as a manager has been an interesting one.
Martino started in Argentina, managing in Second Division and then several small clubs in First Division. He then moved on to Paraguay where he was Champion four times with two different teams. All that success brought him to the Paraguay national team where he led them through the very difficult South American World Cup Qualifiers and on to the 2010 World Cup in which Paraguay made it to the Quarterfinals and almost made it to the Semifinals if it wasn’t for losing a close game to Spain.
Martino also managed Paraguay in two Copa America’s, making it to the Final in 2011, and managed club teams from Paraguay and Argentina in the Copa Libertadores reaching the Semifinals twice.
Martino’s philosophy as manager has been consistent. He believes in attacking football with a foundation of short, accurate passing and constant play build up.
Before signing with Barca, Martino managed Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina and won the league title exhibiting a very attractive brand of football, the kind that Martino believes in. The kind that FC Barcelona also believes in.
I do not foresee any major changes to Barca with Martino as manager.
The team structure will remain mostly intact and its footballing philosophy will remain unchanged. Martino, though, will bring his considerable managing experience, his proven ability to handle locker rooms and players on a human level. Martino will surely add some of his own concepts to the team.
There have been alot of football observers in Europe questioning Martino’s signing as new Barca manager.
Most of the arguments have been along the lines that Martino never managed in Europe, a big disqualifier in their view.
As if a different game is played in Europe. As far as I know, in the old continent it is still eleven players against eleven players, the ball is still round, and every game lasts 90 minutes.
I’m not surprised by those arguments though as they are wrapped in euro-centric views and to a certain extent a South American bias.
That is nothing new.
So, how will things go for Martino and Barca as a new era begins in the Camp Nou?.
I am very optimistic and believe that there will be more success.
I believe that Martino is the right manager at the right time for Barcelona.
It will be very fascinating to watch as La Liga and the Champions League season’s unfold.
May the good times continue to roll in Catalunya.
In one year.
The latest accomplishment in Lionel Messi’s career.
It is a staggering number.
It seems unreal but it isn’t because with Messi anything is possible on the football field.
Even at this stage of Lio’s career, all the praise, recognition, marvel, and other words used to describe his talent and greatness have been exhausted.
Is there really anything new or original that can be said about this extraordinary football player who continues to break records, make history and add new chapters to his Ongoing Legend?.
There are people that argue that Messi cannot be considered one of the best players in football history unless he wins a World Cup.
Messi has already earned that status and before his career is over he may very well be the greatest player in the history of the game.
I think it is shortsighted and wrong to attempt to define Messi’s career and legacy by whether he wins or does not win a World Cup.
Messi’s accomplishments in European football have blazed a great trail for him and have him on the great path that he is on as a football player.
It is making the argument that, in the end, winning a World Cup must be the defining moment/accomplishment for Messi and his place in football history more and more irrelevant.
Messi’s brilliance does not need to be established once every four years because it is there for all to see every week, all the time.
91 goals in one year.
Will anyone ever get near or even break that record?
As the saying goes, all records are meant to be broken but it may be a while before this one is surpassed.
Or maybe not.
Because with Messi anything is possible on the football field.
Pocas veces en mi vida me he levantado en la madrugada para ver un partido de fútbol.
Pocas veces en mi vida he visto un equipo como el Barcelona.
En realidad, nunca.
Este Barcelona de Pep Guardiola es una leyenda viva. Es fútbol en su mas pura y hermosa expresion.
El Barca es un equipo extraordinario. Futbolisticamente, lo hace todo bien. Pero no se trata de su manera de jugar ni de su talento aunque el Barca lo tiene a sobras. No se trata de una idea de fútbol aunque ellos la tienen, claramente. No importa el rival, el partido ni la Copa en disputa, y menos aun donde se juega. El Barca tiene una forma de jugar espectacular y tiene una mentalidad ganadora pero sobre todo tiene un espiritu que no le permite a sus jugadores traicionar su manera de sentir el fútbol.
Jugar bien al fútbol es un sentimiento.
El Barca nunca se traiciona. De tantas virtudes que tiene esa es la mas Grande.
El espiritu del Barca, que no lo tiene ningun otro equipo en el mundo, es lo que le da la Mistica y Grandeza que tiene.
Messi siempre esta, con la camiseta del Barca es intocable. Un genio consagrado en la historia del fútbol, con solo 24 años.
Hay gente que aun lo discuten. Pobre ellos.
Messi siempre esta. Con grandes jugadas, golazos inolvidables y historicos. Por todo el mundo.
Seguira el debate para algunos y mientras tanto Messi seguira ganando y haciendo historia.
Igual que su equipo.
Barcelona gano otra Copa hoy. Campeones del Mundial de Clubes.
Y sigue la fiesta.
En Catalunya, alegrias sin fin.