Tata Martino won't renew contract with Atlanta United
Atlanta United announced on Tuesday that coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino won't be returning next year, opening the door for the Argentine to manage Mexico or Argentina.
Martino had been repeatedly asked in recent weeks about reports he has a verbal agreement to take over as Mexico's full-time coach in December, but the former Barcelona and Argentina manager had said he would not make any decisions until he was no longer under contract with the MLS club.
On Tuesday, Martino's announcement cleared the way for him manage a national team.
"This was not an easy decision to make, I have enjoyed my time with Atlanta United very much and am proud of what we have accomplished together in such a short time," Martino said.
"The decision was not made for financial reasons, negotiations with the front office were transparent and fair. It was simply the right move for me and my family at this time. The opportunity to build a team from the start does not come along often, and I am grateful to the club and to the fans for putting their trust in me to establish a solid foundation here in Atlanta. What is most important now is that the focus remain on our goals for this season."
Atlanta have one regular season game left to play before the MLS playoffs begin.
Mexico are looking for a full-time replacement for Juan Carlos Osorio, who guided El Tri to the round-of-16 at the World Cup this summer before stepping down.
Since then, Tigres coach Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti has been in charge of Mexico on an interim basis.
On Monday, Martino told ESPN's Jorge Ramos y Su Banda that it is a "myth" that Lionel Messi makes the big decisions at Barcelona and in the Argentina national team.
Martino coached the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in both the 2013-14 campaign at Barca and during his two-year spell in charge of his native Argentina.
It has been claimed that Messi has selected coaches and influenced which players make the squad, but Martino told ESPN otherwise.
"No, you never have do to what Messi says, nor in the national team," he said. "That myth was created. A lot of people have said so and it's not for me to deny it but rather the facts.
"When one looks at what happened at the 2014 World Cup and see who went and who was left out, who returned to the team in 2015 when there were people that said they would never return. When those things happen, everything is disproved."
Messi told ESPN last year that the suggestion he runs the Argentina national team made him "angry."
The 31-year-old has taken an international break from the Albiceleste since captaining the side to the round-of-16 at the World Cup in Russia, where they were beaten by eventual champions France.
"We are very grateful to Tata for his commitment to Atlanta United and for all he has done to help build our club during our first two years in the league," said Atlanta United president Darren Eales.
"True to his reputation, he has been an incredible leader and has set us up for great success moving forward. From the beginning, his vision for Atlanta United was aligned with ours, and his level of experience, talent and leadership has been extremely valuable during this critical time.
"He will be missed, but we understand and appreciate his reasons for moving on to spend time with family and take on new challenges."