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Martino to reunite with Messi as Argentina’s new manager

Aug 7, 2014, 12:40 PM EST

FBL-LIBERTADORES-OLIMPIA-NEWELLS Getty Images

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has only managed Lionel Messi on the club side, but it appears he will have the chance to do so internationally, as his appointment to Argentina’s managerial opening is imminent.

Martino has had considerable experience managing Argentina’s club teams since 1998.

“Our first candidate is Martino. If we agree with the economic issue and the agreements that everyone seeks, Martino will be the new coach,” AFA general manager Miguel Silva said. “We have one outstanding point, and we’ll either agree or we will not agree.”

Martino didn’t have the type of high-quality season one comes to expect out of Barcelona in his short one-year stint in Spain. He failed to lead the team to one major championship–falling to Atletico Madrid in the race for both the La Liga title and Champions League crown.

Barca was closer to capturing the league honors. Coming down to one match against Atletico in May, Martino needed a win to seal it and unfortunately succumbed to a draw. In Champions League play, however, Barcelona wasn’t able to make it past Atletico in the quarterfinals, the first time they’ve haven’t been a semi-finalist since 2007.

Still, Martino’s succession of Alejandro Sabella, who brought Argentina to the brink of a World Cup victory only to have Germany defeat them in the championship, looks almost like a sure event.

“In principle, the idea is (to meet with Martino) on Thursday. If he meets the AFA’s expectations, the idea is to close a deal,” said Luis Segura, now the president of the Argentina FA following the death of Julio Grondona.

Grondona’s passing canceled the press conference when Sabella was supposed to officially announce his resignation, but last week, media reported that he would no longer coach the squad.

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