Kyle Bonagura, ESPN Staff WriterJun 28, 2023, 04:49 PM ET
CloseCovers the Pac-12.Joined ESPN in 2014.Attended Washington State University.
Gerardo “Tata” Martino is returning to MLS as the coach of Inter Miami CF, the club announced Wednesday.
The hire comes in the wake of fellow Argentine Lionel Messi’s announcement earlier this month that he intends to sign with the club. Martino previously coached Messi with Barcelona (2013-14) and the Argentina national team (2014-16).
“We are very happy to be able to welcome Tata to Inter Miami. We feel he is a coach who matches our ambitions as a club and we’re optimistic about what we can accomplish together,” Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas said in a statement. “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.”
Most recently, Martino coached the Mexico national team (2019-2022) after a two-year stint with Atlanta United, where he won MLS Cup and the Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year award in 2018.
“Right now, this is a team that shows an adverse picture in the standings,” Martino said of the Eastern Conference’s last-place team. “It is also decimated by injuries and by the players called up to their national teams.
“But there are great expectations around the new players that are going to come soon. They are really important. 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.”
Martino is the third permanent head coach Inter Miami has had since joining the league in the 2020 season. Former Uruguay national team coach Diego Alonso coached the team during its expansion season before Phil Neville was hired prior to the 2021 season.
Miami qualified as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season but was eliminated in the first round. Neville was fired earlier this month with the team in last place.
Mas told media outlets last week he expects Messi to play his first game for the club on July 21 in the Leagues Cup against Liga MX’s Cruz Azul. The club also announced Messi’s longtime teammate at Barcelona, Sergio Busquets, will also make the move to South Florida and Inter Miami this summer.