Barcelona: Everything You Need to Know About New Camp Nou Boss Gerardo Martino

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterJuly 23, 2013

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 03:  Gerardo Martino head coach of Paraguay looks thoughtful ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Paraguay and Spain at Ellis Park Stadium on July 3, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Gerardo Martino has been handed one of the most high-profile jobs in world football after being named as the new Barcelona manager.

The 50-year-old Argentinian has signed a two-year deal to replace Tito Vilanova, who has stepped down from the post due to illness.

Martino is a relatively unknown name in the European game, but he possesses a wealth of experience as a player and manager in South America.

Martino was born in Rosario, Argentina, on Nov. 20, 1962, and began his playing career with Newell's Old Boys in his native country.

The attacking midfielder spent 10 years with Newell's, where he won the Primera Division title three times during three spells with the club.

Martino remains a legend with Newell's and was voted the club's best ever player by supporters, as ESPN reported.

The Argentine midfielder does have some European experience after playing for Tenerife in Spain, and he also played for Barcelona Sporting Club in Ecuador.

However, while Martino was an integral part of Newell's history, he only won one cap for his country.

After managing a number of clubs in Argentina and Paraguay at the start of his coaching career, Martino was appointed the national boss for Paraguay.

Martino guided Paraguay to the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals, where they were beaten by the eventual winners Spain, before leading them to the Copa America final only to fall to a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay.

Martino learned the ropes of management from the legendary Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa, whose preparation included walking the length of a pitch to measure the playing field before deciding his tactics.

And Martino played alongside Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino under Bielsa in the early 1990s.

While Bielsa was a maverick, Martino has maintained a more pragmatic approach to the game during his coaching career.

Martino has favoured a 4-3-3 system with two wide men and a false nine in recent years, which is a formation which suits Barcelona star Lionel Messi, particularly.

It will come as little surprise that Messi applauded Martino in an interview with Diario Ole (via The Guardian) as his name emerged as favourite to succeed Vilanova.

I like Tata Martino. He is a great coach and he showed that in the Clausura with what he did for the team, the way it ended and how he did it. He gets his teams playing well and we all respect him.

In his last season at Newell's, Martino steered the club out of a relegation dogfight and to second place in the Inicial Torneo before winning the final.

The new Barcelona manager can adapt to the nature of a game, but likes his team to attack in numbers when in possession and also defend in the same way when the ball has been lost.

Martino's nickname is Tata, which translates as dad or granddad in English, but there is nothing to suggest an ageing approach is coming to Camp Nou. In fact, it is quite the opposite.