Coaching Messi can seem a thankless task – Martino

Despite the obvious rewards on offer from coaching the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, the new Albiceleste boss has revealed there are downsides

Coaching Messi can seem a thankless task - Martino

New Argentina boss Gerardo Martino believes the level of media scrutiny directed at those managing Lionel Messi can sometimes make it feel like a thankless task.

The 51-year-old coached the forward at Barcelona and will team up with him again with the national team, having taken over from Alejandro Sabella, who left the top job following the World Cup final defeat to Germany in July.

Martino says there is enormous pressure on coaches to get the best out of the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, suggesting they are criticised no matter how well they do.

“When you get the chance to coach a footballer like Leo it’s very difficult to be exempt from comments and rumours,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s friendly against the Germans in Dusseldorf. 

“In our time together at Barcelona, it was said he was saving himself for the World Cup. But in La Liga he scored about 30 goals. 

“There were always questions about Leo, if he scored three goals then why had he scored three goals? If he scored one, then why had he only scored one? And if didn’t score at all, it was the same.”

The Barca talisman was a late withdrawal from the squad
 to play Joachim Low’s men in a rematch of the Rio clash and Martino revealed national team doctors will travel to Catalunya to check up on his injury after Wednesday’s game.

“Now rumours are circulating again. Unfortunately we coaches happen to be here to clarify the rumours, which become tiresome,” he added.

“After the game against Germany, the national team doctor will go and see Messi [in Barcelona],

“Sometimes it’s not necessary for players to come here for us to find out about the injury. We didn’t have Ezequiel Garay come over from Russia.

“Sometimes it’s better to have the doctors go to see the players.”

The Albiceleste boss went on to talk about his gameplan, insisting his team will set out to dominate the meeting with the world champions.

“When you want to play as high as we do, there are often fatal consequences. We will have to be balanced to not suffer these consequences.

“We will play 4-3-3, which could change depending on how Germany are structured. The intention is to keep the ball.”


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