Former Barcelona and Argentina coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino was named to coach Major League Soccer expansion side Atlanta United on Tuesday.
Atlanta’s hiring of Martino, first reported by Telemundo, comes as the team prepares for its inaugural MLS season in 2017.
“We are delighted that a manager of Gerardo’s caliber and pedigree will be leading our team into our inaugural season,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said.”His deep experience and success at both the club and international levels speak for itself, and his vision and approach aligns very well with our club philosophy.
“We’re confident in his ability to help build a winning culture both on and off the pitch.”
Martino has been out of work since resigning as Argentina’s manager following the 2016 Copa America Centenario earlier this summer.
He blamed his decision to resign on the chaos surrounding the leadership of the Argentina Football Association, which has been in turmoil since the death of president Julio Grondona in 2014, with Luis Segura resigning as president earlier in the year following his arrest on fraud charges.
“I’m very happy to join Atlanta United as the first head coach in club history,” Martino said. “This is an exciting time for MLS and I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading a team in an evolving league.
“Atlanta United is a first-rate organization, and I’m very eager to get working and build one of the top clubs in MLS.”
Martino has won league titles in Argentina and Paraguay, and reached the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores with his beloved Newell’s Old Boys. He also managed Paraguay for five years, leading them to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup and the final of the 2011 Copa America.
The 53-year-old’s spell at Barcelona lasted just a single season from 2013-14.
The club will host a news conference on Wednesday to unveil the new manager.
“Gerardo’s teams have always been organized and have displayed a fast and fluid style that aligns with how we intend to play,” said Atlanta technical director Carlos Bocanegra. “He’s also demonstrated a commitment to youth soccer, consistently proving his ability to enhance the progression of younger players.
“He’s a great fit for our club and I look forward to working with him to build a successful club.”