Lionel Messi is playing for Gerardo Martino again. (JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images)
One of Inter Miami’s first moves of the Lionel Messi era will be a reunion.
Three weeks after pulling off Major League Soccer’s coup of the decade with the signing of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Inter Miami announced Wednesday it has hired Gerardo Martino, Messi’s former manager at FC Barcelona and Argentina’s national team.
Martino was the manager at Barcelona from 2013 to 2014, a span of time in which the club went 40-11-8 with a win in the Spanish Super Cup before he resigned to take the Argentina job. Leading their home country’s national team, Martino and Messi reached the finals of the Copa América twice but lost to Chile both times. Martino resigned in 2016.
The player and coach met up Tuesday night at the stadium of Newell’s Old Boys, an Argentine club they both played for and for whom Martino managed.
This won’t be Martino’s introduction to MLS, as he was the inaugural coach of Atlanta United in 2017. He led the club to the MLS Cup in 2018 before resigning later that year, eventually landing with the Mexican national team.
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With Inter Miami, Martino will once again have one of the greatest players in the history of soccer … and not much else.
The 5-year-old club currently sits dead last in the East table with a 5-0-13 record. Even the week they signed Messi also saw them fire previous manager Phil Neville and lose their sixth straight league match. Their most notable bit of news since was their backup goalkeeper getting hospitalized with a spider bite from a zoo.
The Messi signing has garnered an unprecedented amount of attention and more change could be on the way, but there is plenty of reason to keep expectations in check as the superstar takes the field.