Gerardo Martino has dramatically quit as Argentina coach, a week after his side’s defeat by Chile in the final of the Copa América Centenario. Martino blamed “serious problems” at the Asociacion de Futbol Argentino for his decision to step down.
Martino’s entire coaching staff also went with him, according to a statement on the AFA’s official website, which read: “The national team’s technical staff have decided to hand in their resignation on this day [Tuesday].
“Due to uncertainty over the designation of new authorities in the Argentine Football Association and the serious problems in putting together the team that will represent the country in the Olympic Games, the staff have chosen to resign.”
Martino took over the Albiceleste in 2014 after their loss to Germany in the World Cup final, but despite taking them to two straight Copa América finals, failed to capture a trophy. His side lost to Chile on penalties in this year’s Copa América, a year after the same outcome – a shootout defeat after a 0-0 draw – in last year’s tournament. Argentina’s 23-year wait for a trophy continues.
But Martino’s resignation comes after a fractious couple of weeks in Argentinian football, in which Fifa and Conmebol have been forced to step in to oversee the running of the AFA in wake of several scandals. Luis Segura, the AFA president, was charged in June with fraud related to TV broadcasting rights. Segura is also under investigation by the Argentinian courts.
The AFA is struggling to put a team together for the Olympics in Rio, which begin on 5 August, and the country is still coming to terms with Lionel Messi’s decision to retire from international football, which he announced in the wake of the defeat by Chile. Messi missed a penalty in the shootout in New Jersey, and afterwards said he felt his time was up.
“I tried so hard to be [a] champion with Argentina. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision. I tried many times [to be a champion] but did not.”
Sergio Aguero’s father recently hinted that if Messi follows through with his decision, his son will retire too. During the Copa America, Messi described the AFA as a “disaster” and said the organisation of flights and scheduling was substandard.
Martino, 53, leaves with a record of 19 wins, seven draws and three losses in his two years in charge. He also coached Barcelona to second place in La Liga in 2013-14.
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 5th July 2016 20.34 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010