Argentina coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has announced his resignation, deepening the chaos in the squad a month before the Olympics. Martino’s exit follows Lionel Messi’s decision to end his international career.
In a statement published by the Argentina football federation (AFA), Martino said he and his staff quit due to management disputes in the federation and difficulties in getting the squad together in time for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro starting on Aug. 5.
The blow came less than two weeks after star player Messi, who Martino coached at Barcelona in the 2013-14 season, said he had decided not to play for Argentina again following defeat on penalties to Chile in the final of the Copa America.
Before the match in New Jersey, Messi complained about a lack of support from the AFA and his decision to abandon the team led to a national outcry, with many fans imploring the 29-year-old, a five-times World Player of the Year, to reconsider.
The crisis in the national team laid bare managerial squabbles in the AFA that are blamed for disrupting the organization of the sport in the soccer-mad South American nation.
Lack of clarity
Martino’s decision was “due to the lack of clarity in the naming of new leaders for the federation and the serious inconveniences in putting together a squad to represent the country in the forthcoming Olympic Games,” the statement said.
Martino, who had a five-year stint in charge of Paraguay from 2006, took over the Argentina team after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in which they were beaten 1-0 by Germany after extra time in the final.
The 53-year-old led the team to the Copa America final last year and again last month in the centenary edition. They were beaten both times by Chile on penalties.
The president of Argentina’s Olympic Committee, Gerardo Werthein, warned earlier on Tuesday there was a “50-percent chance” Argentina would miss the Olympic football competition.