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Lionel Messi will have a familiar face on the sideline in MLS, as former Barcelona and Argentina national team manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino will be named the next coach of Inter Miami.

Inter Miami officially announced the hiring of Martino on Wednesday. FOX Sports first reported Inter Miami’s intention to hire Martino on Tuesday. 

Martino previously coached Messi, the record seven-time Ballon d’Or award winner who earlier this month revealed that he’s joining Inter Miami, with Barca during the 2013-14 season and then for three more years with the Albiceleste.

A Rosario, Argentina native like Messi, Martino led his country to consecutive Copa America finals in 2015 and ‘16, losing both times on penalties to Chile.

He most recently coached Mexico’s national team during the 2022 World Cup cycle. El Tri won the 2019 Gold Cup under Martino, but struggled during World Cup qualifying and then failed to reach the knockout stage at Qatar 2022 — the first time since 1978 that El Tri failed to advance from group play at a World Cup. Martino’s contract expired following the tournament and was not renewed.

Before taking the Mexico job in January 2019, Martino capped a two-season run with Atlanta United by winning the 2018 MLS Cup title. Given his availability and previous success in the American/Canadian league, Martino was seen as an obvious candidate to replace Englishman Phil Neville even before Messi pledged his future to Inter on June 7. Neville, who was in his third season in South Florida, was fired five days earlier with Miami sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

Martino, 60, has also coached several clubs in the top divisions of Argentina and Paraguay. He helmed the latter’s national squad at both the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Copa America.

In addition to Messi, Martino also worked with midfielder Sergio Busquets at Barcelona. Inter Miami announced the signing of the 34-year-old Busquets last week.

Martino and Messi were reunited just last weekend, during a testimonial match for former Argentina player Maxi Rodriguez. Martino coached a team of greats from Rosario-based Newell’s Old Boys, one of his former clubs, against a Messi-led Albiceleste.

Before the game, Martino confirmed that his camp was “talking to Inter Miami.” Clearly those conversations progressed quickly, with Martino set to become the club’s third coach following Neville and Uruguayan Diego Alonso, who left after Inter’s 2020 expansion season.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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