BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Gerardo Martino has been hired as coach of Argentina, less than three months after leaving Spanish club Barcelona.
The Argentine Football Association said the 51-year-old Martino will replace Alejandro Sabella, who stepped down after Argentina's loss to Germany in last month's World Cup final.
Martino will be officially introduced on Thursday.
It will be Martino's second coaching role with a national team, having been in charge of Paraguay from 2006-11.
Martino was hired until the end of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, but the contract will be automatically extended if the team makes it to the tournament in Russia.
Martino left Barcelona in May with one year left on his contract after the club failed to win a major trophy for the first time in six years.
Known for offensive squads, Martino had been favored for the job by soccer association president Julio Grondona, who passed away on July 30.
One of the reasons Martino was seen as a good fit for the role is because he has good relations with Lionel Messi and midfielder Javier Mascherano, the Barcelona players who are the leaders of the Argentine national team.
His first official task will be to pick the squad for a Sept. 3 friendly against Germany in Duesseldorf, a match that was scheduled before the nations made it to the World Cup final in Brazil. The squad announcement is expected next week.
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