MLS commissioner Don Garber lauds Mexico on 'aggressive move' for Gerardo Martino
The United States men's soccer team are without a permanent manager, but MLS commissioner Don Garber may have inadvertently confirmed Mexico's new boss.
Speaking to reporters at the Soccerex conference in Miami on Thursday, Garber congratulated Mexico for their "aggressive move" for Atlanta United coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino.
"Good for the [Mexican football federation], I am very close friends with [Liga MX president] Enrique [Bonilla] and [FMF head] Yon de Luisa and they were bold," Garber said. "They made a very aggressive move to get Tata who, by the way, before he came to MLS might not have been on the radar screen for the Mexican national team."
It has been widely reported that Martino -- who recently won MLS Coach of the Year -- would take over at Mexico at the end of the MLS season, but neither the Argentine coach or El Tri have confirmed any deal. Reports have stated Martino's presumptive deal with Mexico is for four years.
Martino has already announced he won't return to manage Atlanta next season, with the club currently preparing for an Eastern Conference finals playoff tie against the New York Red Bulls. He has not publicly talked about his future plans, only that his pending departure from Atlanta "was simply the right move for me and my family at this time."
"Tata has been a gift. He has brought a level of respect and credibility to our league through what he has done with Atlanta United, and that shows we can be a league of choice," Garber said. "I love Tata. I wish him well, I was disappointed and in many ways heartbroken when they weren't able to resign him, it wasn't about anything other than that he was ready for another challege, and that's what coaches do."
Tigres coach Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti has managed Mexico on an interim basis since the conclusion of the World Cup and is with the squad as they prepare for two upcoming friendlies in Argentina. When asked Thursday about the Martino reports, Ferretti said: "I don't comment on speculation, [the information] isn't 100 percent verified, I don't like to opine.
"There's an area of the federation dedicated to finding a new coach and I'm sure they'll make the right decision."
Prior to joining Atlanta, Martino garnered coaching experience at the highest levels. He led the Argentina national team back to a No. 1 FIFA world ranking in 2015 after guiding the Paraguay national team to their best-ever World Cup performance in 2010.
On the club side, the former South American Coach of the Year also managed Barcelona to a second-place finish after his turnaround for Newell's Old Boys (Argentina) led to a Torneo Final victory in 2013, the same year he won the Copa Libertadores.