Mexico has confirmed what has been expected for months, hiring Gerardo "Tata" Martino as its next men's national team manager.

By Avi Creditor
January 07, 2019

Mexico has confirmed what has been expected for months, hiring Gerardo "Tata" Martino as its next men's national team manager.

Martino, who led Atlanta United to an MLS Cup title last month, had long been linked to El Tri, and MLS commissioner Don Garber lifted the lid on the move in public remarks made in mid-November.

The Mexican federation took its time, though, keeping things quiet until Monday, when it announced Martino would take the baton from interim coach Tuca Ferretti. The longtime Tigres UANL manager stepped in after Juan Carlos Osorio's exit and guided El Tri in its fall friendlies before making way for the permanent hire.

It marks a return to the international stage for Martino, who previously managed the Paraguay and Argentina national teams. His second match in charge will be full of intriguing storylines as Mexico will play in Santa Clara, Calif., against Paraguay–which is now coached by Osorio–on March 27. Martino's first match in charge will come six days prior in San Diego when Mexico faces another South American opponent in Chile. Martino has plenty of history against La Roja as well, falling to Chile in consecutive Copa America finals (2015-16) as manager of Argentina. Those losses followed another runner-up showing at Copa America, as he led Paraguay to second place in 2011, falling to Uruguay in the title match.

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Martino could be due to make a return to Atlanta in short order, with Mexico reportedly to play a pre-Gold Cup friendly against a to-be-named opponent at Mercedes-Benz Stadium before setting out to reclaim the regional title.

On the World Cup stage, Martino guided Paraguay to the quarterfinals in 2010–a round Mexico has only dreamed of reaching for the last three decades. In each of the last seven World Cups, Mexico has been eliminated in the round of 16, last reaching the quarterfinals in 1986. Martino will look to bring that streak to an end in Qatar.

As it pertains to his new counterpart with Mexico's rival USA, Martino has a favorable record in matchups against Gregg Berhalter-coached teams, albeit over a small sample size. Atlanta went 4-0-0 against Columbus in regular-season meetings in 2017 and 2018 but fell to the Crew in a penalty shootout in the 2017 playoffs.

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