Messi gives backing to Martino as potential Barcelona boss

The Argentine superstar voices his support for the former Paraguay coach, calling him "a great technician", while Gabriel Heinze is not surprised by the Blaugrana links
Lionel Messi has given his backing to Gerardo Martino to take the vacant Barcelona job.

The position became available following the news on Friday of Tito Vilanova's cancer relapse, which forced the 44-year-old to hand in his resignation to the club.

Martino, who guided Newell's Old Boys to the title in Argentina last season, is being considered along with Luis Enrique to take control of the Blaugrana and Messi believes that 'Tata' could be the right man for the role.

"I really like Martino, he is a great technician. He makes his teams play well and everybody respects that," he told Ole.

Martino has gained a strong reputation in South America following a four-year stint with Paraguay, with whom he was voted the South American Coach of the Year in 2007.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Heinze, who plays for Newell's, has also lent his support to his coach, insisting that he is not shocked by the reports that Barca are interested in making Martino their boss.

"I'm not surprised Barca think about Tata Martino. I think he would be the ideal coach for Barcelona," the 35-year-old told Cope.

"Martino is a coach who doesn't leave anything to chance. His focus is 100 per cent on ball possession."