The Argentina international forward had nothing but kind words for 'El Tata' as he prepares to take over at the Rosario club, and wished him the best in his new job
Messi, a Newell's fan since childhood and a trainee at the club before moving to Spain, spoke at an awards ceremony in Rosario where he was named a world ambassador for the city.
Thanking organisers for the prize, 'La Pulga' turned attention to Martino, who took Paraguay to the final of the 2011 Copa America, and welcomed him back to the club.
"He is a great coach. He is a person who is loved dearly by the club's fans. I hope things go as well for him here as they did in Paraguay," the No. 10 declared to reporters at the event, while also expressing his pride at being honoured in his hometown.
"It is a great honour for me to receive this prize, in my own city and my own country. I want to express my gratitude for this recognition in my home, the place I was born, where my people and my family are and where I most likely will live when I leave football."
The 24-year-old is currently on holiday in Rosario, where he will stay until rejoining the Barcelona squad in the new year.