Inter Miami reunites Messi with former mentor Gerardo Martino

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona listens his Head coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino of FC Barcelona during the Copa del Rey round of 16 first leg match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at Camp Nou on January 8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.

In the wake of Lionel Messi’s star-studded arrival, Inter Miami CF has announced the hiring of Gerardo “Tata” Martino as their new head coach. This comes as a reunion for Messi, who has been under Martino’s leadership previously at both Barcelona and the Argentina national team.

Inter Miami confirmed Martino’s appointment on Wednesday, a decision welcomed enthusiastically by Jorge Mas, Inter Miami managing owner. “Tata has coached at the highest levels and we believe that experience will be hugely beneficial to us as we aim to compete for titles here,” Mas stated. This commitment to high-level competition aligns with the club’s ambitions, painting a positive outlook for the future under Martino.

Martino’s successful track record includes a Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year award and MLS Cup win in 2018 with Atlanta United. Additionally, he has held the reins of the Mexico national team from 2019 to 2022. However, the challenge at Inter Miami lies in their current standing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, coupled with injuries and player call-ups to national teams.

Martino appears optimistic, highlighting the importance of the upcoming new signings. “I hope that they can help us to make the team better from an emotional and playing point of view so we can have a season-ending more in line with what is expected of this club,” he said.

Since joining the league in 2020, Inter Miami has seen two head coaches, Diego Alonso and Phil Neville. Despite making the playoffs last season as the No. 6 seed, they were eliminated in the first round, and Neville was subsequently dismissed earlier this month with the team still last on the table.

Mas anticipates Messi’s first game to be on July 21 in the Leagues Cup against Liga MX’s Cruz Azul. Furthermore, the club announced the signing of Messi’s Barcelona comrade, Sergio Busquets, due to arrive in South Florida this summer.

Inter Miami, in its fifth year, currently holds a 5-0-13 record, remaining last in the East table. Despite the unprecedented attention Messi’s signing brought, the team has been facing challenges, including the firing of their previous manager and their backup goalkeeper’s hospitalization due to a spider bite.

With Messi on the field and Martino at the helm, Inter Miami looks forward to a potential resurgence in the MLS. However, this new era comes with a word of caution as the superstar’s arrival doesn’t guarantee an immediate turnaround.

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