This year marks a decade: before and after everything happened.
On May 29, 2013, in Rosario, Gerardo Martino
's Newell's eliminated
de Bianchi from the Libertadores
and reached the semifinals of the continental tournament after a dramatic penalty shootout that ended 10-9 for the locals.
That night, Tata DT hugged Riquelme, a footballer, two weirdos within the Argentine soccer scene, who may join their paths again at La Bombonera.
At that time, Tata was already a coach with scrolls, especially because of his work in Paraguay, where he did great in clubs like Libertad and Cerro Porteño and reached the National Team.
With the Albirroja he played in the 2010 World Cup, where he had the Spain that would be crowned champion on the ropes, and the following year he reached the final of the Copa América in Argentina, when he lost against Uruguay.
Long before, in 2006, the Tata sounded for the first time to lead Boca.
The Argentine National Team took Basile and the then president Mauricio Macri did not trust Coco's assistant, the Russian Jorge Ribolzi, and went out to look for an experienced coach to lead a team that had just been two-time champions and had won the first five dates of the 2006 Apertura, including a historic 7-1 win over San Lorenzo as a visitor.
Lavolpe ended up arriving.
Martino and Riquelme, the night in 2013 that Newell's eliminated Boca de Bianchi on penalties.
"I spoke on the phone with a manager, they offered it to me and I said that at that moment I couldn't because we were in the middle of the Cup and I had a contract until December. Of course, I was tempted by the chance to direct Boca, but what was right was what I did , not that I ran after Boca," Tata later acknowledged in an interview with
But the story of Tata and Boca had other previous chapters, with a bitter taste for those in blue and gold.
In 1991 he played as a starter in that rematch that crowned Newell's de Bielsa champion in La Boca, on penalties.
Shortly after, in 1998, in his first experience off the pitch, he was Carlos Picerni's technical assistant at Platense, who thrashed Xeneize 4-0, again at La Bombonera.
Tata Martino led Paraguay to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the last one played by the Albirroja.
Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Piris.
Martino also had to suffer against Xeneize, and not just because of an adverse result.
In the final of the Liguilla 86, La Leprosa won 2-0 as a visitor with two of his goals, but lost the second leg at the Colossus 4-1.
Both he and Gringo Scoponi were accused of "sold out" for delivering the game, an accusation that he was able to reverse only after winning three titles and reaching two Libertadores finals with his love club but never forgave.
But going back to 2013 and the hug between Tata and Román, Leprosy could not advance in that Cup after losing an unusual series against Ronaldinho's Mineiro but DT repositioned himself as a coach, showing offensive and modern football, evolving with his own style the idea of not speculating and defending only when necessary that he incorporated when he was a footballer under the orders of
He was also a student of
Jorge "el Indio" Solari
, it is worth noting, another historical man with a great legacy in Argentine soccer.
Martino and Messi, together at Barcelona.
Photo: Lluis GENE / AFP.
After that stint at Newell's, he got a chance from Barcelona, recommended by a certain Lionel Messi.
Owner of a very particular low profile, oblivious to conflicts and media exposure, Martino later acknowledged that
his first reaction was to reject the proposal but it was his children who ended up convincing him
On Catalan soil, Tata not only had the challenge of taking charge of one of the best teams in history, the one formed by Guardiola, but also inherited the "bench" due to the illness of Tito Vilanova (later he died), Pep's assistant and protagonist of the most golden stage of the blaugrana team.
They won a Spanish Super Cup, had the best league start in history with 7 consecutive wins, and it took them 18 games to suffer their first defeat, setting a record for foreign coaches.
But in terms of titles, the balance ended up being negative: in that first season, they lost a Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid, were eliminated in the Champions League quarterfinals, and lost the local championship on the last date against Atlético del Cholo Simeone.
In May 2014, despite the fact that he had one more year left on his contract, Tata announced his departure from a club (and a changing room) that ended up devouring him.
Martino and Messi, in a training session for the Argentine national team.
Photo: Fernando de la Orden.
In a profession full of unexpected turns, fate had an even bigger challenge in store for Tata: the Argentine National Team.
Alejandro Sabella stepped aside after Brazil 2014 and Martino was chosen by Julio Grondona, who died before DT signed his contract.
Again, as in Barcelona, Gerardo arrived
at the ideal place but at the least opportune moment
In the midst of the chaos that broke out in the
after the death of the Chief, Tata managed to put together a team that played really well, progressed with the passing of the games and that only lacked a little luck to win a title after more than 20 years of drought: in 29 games they had 19 wins, seven draws and three losses but lost the 2015 and 2016 Copa América finals on penalties against Chile.
In that last game, Messi missed his penalty and then announced that he was resigning from the National Team.
Tata and his smile, with the Newell's shirt.
Photo: Carlos Carrion.
The outlook was getting darker for the National Team but Martino ended up leaving not because of the slaps in the finals but because of the indifference of the AFA and the leaders of the Argentine clubs, who decided not to give him players for the 2016 Brazil Olympics. Tata projected a generational renewal in the National Team as necessary and wanted to use that tournament thinking about Russia 2018:
time would end up proving him right.
In July 2016, after a tour of the United States in which he had no players to train with, he got tired and said enough was enough.
He too was owed money, though he chose not to mention that detail and left in silence
The National Team, this same National Team that is at the top of the world today, was left without a president in the AFA, without Messi and without DT.
Tata Martino and his second World Cup, with Mexico.
Photo: AP Photo/Julio Cortez.
The Atlanta United of the MLS passed, where they won everything, and then the Mexican National Team arrived, where they won and lost but suffered criticism from the press like nowhere else, especially merciless after the World Cup in Qatar.
With a squad of footballers
without renowned figures,
it complied with logic: it was able to draw against Poland, lost to Argentina and beat Saudi Arabia, being eliminated on goal difference against Robert Lewandowski's team, one of the best strikers on the planet.
"I like to be next to the road," Fito Páez once sang, Tata's schoolmate in Rosario, a little-known fact.
And Martino seems to handle that philosophy for life, he is capable of considering saying no to Barcelona out of shyness or asserting his dignity in the face of his dream job with the Argentine National Team.
Ten years after the embrace with Riquelme, Boca arrives:
what is coming is not a road, it is a highway.
Mouth: the secret plot of Ibarra's departure and when the first talks with Martino took place
Bianchi's grandson nominated him to replace Ibarra in Boca: "We are going to try to convince him"
New DT of Boca: Martino, Pekerman, Bianchi and some surprise, the names that sound to replace Ibarra