Lionel Messi’s transfer to Inter Miami, according to Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin, was partly influenced by the Herons’ hiring of Gerardo Martino.

Messi joined the MLS club soon after Martino was named Phil Neville’s successor at the DRV PNK Stadium. Martino had already coached Messi, the 2022 FIFA World Cup champion, at Barcelona and Argentina.

The 36-year-old was not the only former Barcelona player to join Martino at Inter Miami this summer. Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba both chose to join the Herons after the hiring of the Argentine coach.

Martino’s presence, according to Curtin, drew the renowned three to Vice City. He heaped Messi with admiration (via GOAL):

“People forget that he was the first component. I believe Messi comes because Tata is present. Busquets appears because Tata is present. As well as Alba. He was the first move in this entire deal that really changed the club.”

Inter Miami had a poor run of form before replacing Neville with Martino. They had only won five games and were at the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference.

Since then, the Herons have won 12 of 15 games in all competitions under Martino, and he led them to the Leagues Cup last month. Curtin proceeded to praise the former Barcelona manager:

“He’s the leader, an incredible coach, and an incredible human being.” When you think about Tata, you can see how his players respond to him almost like a father figure who also happens to have a great soccer genius.”

Martino averages 2.47 points per game for the DRV PNK, and his arrival has been critical in the MLS team’s development. Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham praised the new coach’s talents while appointing him (via The Mirror):

“Tata is a well-known figure in our sport, and his track record speaks for itself.”


“We are confident that his achievements in the game and experience as a head coach will inspire and excite our team and fans, and we look forward to seeing the impact he will have both on and off the field.”

The manager of the Herons has not only coached Barcelona and Argentina. He has also led Mexico and Paraguay, Lionel Messi’s childhood club Newells Old Boys, and MLS team Atlanta United.

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