Gerardo Martino has stepped down as Argentina coach.
Argentina last month lost to Chile on penalties in the final of the Copa America for the second time in two years, extending their wait for a major international title to 23 years.
Martino’s decision comes in the wake of captain Lionel Messi, who missed a spot-kick in that shootout, confirming he is retiring from international football and as the running of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) is firmly in the spotlight.
The 53-year-old, who coached Messi at Barcelona earlier in his career, took over as Argentina coach in August 2014 and was due to lead the team into August’s Olympic Games.
But with the side’s participation in the Rio showpiece in serious jeopardy, Martino has seemingly staged a U-turn.
An AFA statement confirmed: “The national team’s technical team have decided to hand in their resignation.
“Due to uncertainty over the designation of new authorities in the Argentine Football Association and the serious problems in putting together the team that will represent the country in the Olympic Games, the team has chosen to resign.”
Martino had taken over the reins from Alejandro Sabella in August 2014 following Argentina’s loss to Germany in the World Cup final.
He previously worked at international level with Paraguay, leading them to the quarter-finals at the 2010 World Cup and the final of the Copa America the following year, albeit they lost out to Uruguay.
After a spell managing Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland, the 53-year-old took over at Camp Nou in 2013.
However, Martino lasted just the one season, missing out on the Liga trophy with a final-day draw at home to Atletico Madrid, who claimed the title instead.
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