At the end of the Torneo Final and the elimination from the Copa Libertadores at the hands of Atletico Miniero it was already widely known that Gerardo Martino and Ignacio Scocco would be saying goodbye to Rosario. This week Scocco finally agreed on his next move and ,perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t to Europe, but to Internacional de Porto Alegre in Brasil. Meanwhile, Martino has been touted as a possible replacement for outgoing Barcelona Manager, Tito Villanova….
Ignacio Scocco has been the top goal scorer in Argentine football in the past year and has been a major reason for Newell’s recent success. Still on the cusp of the national side, Scocco at 28 years old is entering the crucial stage of his career, the ‘now or never’ moment. When he announced that he would be leaving Newell’s at the end of this season no one could begrudge him that. He has regularly been the best player on the pitch in the Primera Division and it seemed like a move to Europe was most likely and something that would enhance his chances of being in Alejandro Sabella’s squad for the World Cup next year.
However, after days of negotiating, Scocco has signed a 4-year-deal with Internacional to link up with the likes of, fellow Argentine, Andres D’Alessandro and Uruguayan, Diego Forlan. The fee is reported to be in the region of $6.5 million, made complicated by his ownership from UAE side, Al Ain but eventually finalised. The deal is a lucrative one for Scocco but wouldn’t a move to Europe have been more beneficial when wanting to break into La Seleccion? One can only assume that Scocco would have thought about this and perhaps spoken to Sabella before making the move. After all the Brasilian league is improving with the increased revenues and as Scocco could be replacing Leandro Damiao at Internacional it could be a good opportunity to be the main man, rather than a squad player in Europe.
The other news is that, Andoni Zubizarreta, Sporting Director at Barcelona is travelling to Rosario tonight to speak with Gerardo Martino over the now vacant top job at Spanish Champions, Barcelona. Following Tito Villanova’s announcement that he has had to step down over his health issues there are now 2 names that are being touted to take over: One is that of Martino and the other, former Barcelona player, Luis Enrique.
Martino was reportedly in the frame for both the Malaga and the Real Madrid jobs when they were recently looking for new managers but both sides eventually looked elsewhere. One apparent reason for the strength of Martino’s application is Lionel Messi. The Argentine captain and Barcelona talisman is a huge admirer of Martino and Messi Sr idolised Martino as a player for Newell’s. On the strength of this it has been suggested that the appointment of Martino would be made to appease Messi.
This slightly, under values Martino’s achievements as a Manager as his accomplishments deserve recognition. We will find out early next week who will take over one of the most coveted jobs in World Football but regardless of the result Martino will end up in a major job soon enough.