Martino's future at Barcelona in doubt

Barcelona, Dec 19 : The long term future of Tata Martino as Barcelona coach was cast into doubt Thursday following the publication of stories in his homeland Argentina suggesting he will abandon the Spanish football club at the end of the season.

Both of the Barcelona based sports papers, Diario Sport and El Mundo Deportivo have picked on the comments of Argentinean reporter Fabian Godoy, who insists Martino has confessed to people close to him that he is unhappy at the club and is considering abandoning the Camp Nou Stadium in May.

Godoy had published several weeks ago that Martino could be considering leaving the current league leaders in Spain, but went further when speaking on Direct TV Wednesday, assuring: "Martino has confessed to people in his closest circles that he does not feel comfortable."

"He is not unhappy with the players or the press, but he doesn't feel he is the protagonist. He feels his facilities are blocked and that is what means he is unhappy," said the reporter.

The fact is that Martino is under intense scrutiny at Barcelona, to some extent that is logical given he is in charge of one of the biggest football clubs in the world, which is the focus of so much media attention that his every move and decision is looked at and questioned in immense detail.

Martino's position has been made much more complicated by the fact he has had to follow Pep Guardiola, who oversaw the four most successful years the club has even known and developed a style of total football based on precise passing, pressure and movement.

Guardiola was then followed by the popular Tito Vilanova, who continued Guardiola's style before illness forced him to step down over the summer.

That saw Martino come into the club, where he has inherited much of the former coaching staff and a club which wants to keep on enjoying the same style of football.

The main question over Martino has been his willingness to sacrifice possession of the ball on occasions and adopt a more direct style of football, which does not rule out the use of the long ball.

Barca's possession statistics have dropped during his time in charge and at times their passing has lacked the fluidity and penetration of previous seasons.

Should the former Paraguay and Newells Old Boys coach think about leaving, there would be some in the press and the stands, who would not be too upset by the decision.

--IANS (Posted on 19-12-2013)

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