Sports

Lionel Messi’s record under Tata Martino

“Nothing. Nothing at all.”

That was the typically blunt response Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino delivered to the question of what he added to Lionel Messi’s game when the pair worked together at Barcelona.

Martino only won the Spanish Super Cup with Messi during his single season in Catalonia but was soon reunited with his fellow Rosario native at the Argentina national team. Again, arguably the greatest player of all time didn’t collect a significant title with Martino at the helm. No other manager in his career has ever been able to call upon Messi for at least 50 games and fail to claim any major silverware.

Nevertheless, the familiar pairing will team up again at Inter Miami after Martino was appointed head coach at the end of June. Given Inter’s dire first half of the MLS season, it will take an almighty turnaround for the duo to finally taste success alongside each other.

Season

Games

Wins

Draws

Losses

Goals

Assists

2013/14

46

29

11

6

41

15

Data via Transfermarkt

Martino’s solitary season at Barcelona began on the back foot. The former manager of Newell’s Old Boys – Messi’s former youth team – arrived in Spain against the backdrop of widespread rumours that he had been selected by Messi and his father Jorge. Even Martino was under this impression before Barcelona’s sporting director and Messi himself emphatically squashed the accusations.

At his unveiling, Martino sheepishly clarified: “We’re both from Rosario, and basically, from Newell’s, and we don’t know each other.”

The pair soon became well acquainted as Martino began his tenure with a 20-game unbeaten start across all competitions. However, the team – which included new recruit Neymar – didn’t win over the aesthetes of the fanbase playing what Cesc Fabregas described as an “anarchic” style.

Barcelona lost two games on the spin to start December and remained top of the league but the local publication Sport ran with the headline: “This is not our Barça!”

As a collective, Barcelona may not have lived up to the recent iteration under Pep Guardiola, losing out to Atletico Madrid domestically and in the Champions League, but Messi continued to find the net at a frightening rate. Barcelona’s talisman averaged a goal every 91 minutes under Martino, with a hat-trick in the second Clasico of the season against Real Madrid a memorable highlight from an otherwise underwhelming campaign.

READ MORE ON LIONEL MESSI’S MOVE TO INTER MIAMI

Lionel Messi, Gerardo Martino

Messi played 20 Argentina games under Martino / Scott Halleran/GettyImages

Season

Games

Wins

Draws

Losses

Goals

Assists

2014-16

20

13

5

2

13

9

Data via Transfermarkt

Martino had forged a very respectable reputation in international management before the rumours that he was riding Messi’s coattails emerged. At the 2010 World Cup, Martino led Paraguay to the quarter-finals (as far as Argentina got) before taking the relative minnows of South American football all the way to the final of the Copa America in the following year.

A Luis Suarez-inspired Uruguay would get the better of Martino’s side in the showpiece event – unfortunately, losing on the grand stage would become a recurring event.

Argentina, with Messi as captain, reached the final of both major tournaments which they entered under Martino, the Copas America of 2015 and 2016. Each time they faced Chile and each match ended in a penalty shootout defeat.

Messi missed Argentina’s first kick in the 2016 final (he had scored the year before) and swiftly announced his international retirement. While he struggled in both finals, Messi shone for the Albiceleste elsewhere during the tenure of the former Barcelona manager.

Under Martino, Messi averaged 1.27 goals and assists per 90 for Argentina – his best return under any coach throughout his international career. Incidentally, Messi’s worst period came when Diego Maradona was manager, as he directly contributed to just five goals in 16 caps.

Unlike his compatriot, Martino has experience of top-flight football in the US, winning the 2018 MLS Cup with Atlanta United. With all of that collective and individual first-hand knowledge to call upon, Martino is better placed than most to predict how Messi would fare in Major League Soccer. “Players of that class transform leagues,” Martino confidently declared – although, that was before it was confirmed that he would be managing Messi again.

READ MORE ON THE PLAYERS LINKED TO SAUDI ARABIA & THE MONEY ON OFFER

Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celeb News

Related posts

Sports radio host fired after ‘Barbie’ comments to female TV reporter

BBC Brk News

Ange Postecoglou makes history as Tottenham sweep September awards

BBC Brk News

EA Sports launch FC Futures programme in Turin dedicated to Gianluca Vialli

BBC Brk News

Leave a Comment