Martino: I will fulfil Barcelona contract
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has insisted that he will see out his contract with the club, despite recent speculation that he will step away from the job at the end of the season.
Martino’s news conference on Tuesday was dominated by questions about the rows which have followed Sunday’s clasico against Real Madrid.
His own future, meanwhile, was also a major talking point, even though on Tuesday morning Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the Argentine will stay at the Camp Nou until his contract expires in 2015.
Asked repeatedly if he agreed with Bartomeu’s comments, Martino said he would fulfil his current deal, but refused to elaborate on a clause which could see either party end the agreement early this summer.
“I always fulfil my contract,” Martino said. “That is the truth. So what the president has said is correct. I am not concerned much about next year, just this season, the time we have left, the chance to battle on three fronts. I really wonder why this is so important.”
Martino was also asked various times about the controversial incidents that took place during and after the game at Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, including a clash between Sergio Busquets and Pepe, and comments about the referee from Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.
The Barca boss, though, showed some frustration at how little anybody wanted to talk about the football played in his side’s 4-3 win.
“It is a pity as until recently I enjoyed these clasicos from the outside,” he said. “I have the feeling that the game the other day gave plenty of material to talk about football, but there has been little talk about football, more about other things. I am not referring to those involved, but the analysis.
"There were many skilful moments, many mistakes, lots of football to talk about. I like to hear people who understand the game, talk about it, but that did not really happen. This is my first year in Spain, but I am seeing how things are here.”
Martino was happier when the focus finally turned to Barca’s upcoming fixtures, including Wednesday’s home game against Celta Vigo, Saturday’s derbi at Espanyol, and then the following Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg with Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou -- April 16’s Copa del Rey final against Madrid is also looming.
Barca are expected to make some changes for the match against Celta, with Marc Bartra, Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis Sanchez among those who could come in, but Martino says he is taking each game as it comes.
“Everything that is coming is very difficult,” he said. “We will look to use the players who are best for each game. And we will make that analysis for the game against Celta. We have been through difficult moments to get to this point in the season. Tomorrow I am sure we will play well. They are a good team, very well organised with a defined style of play. If our attention and our focus is not on each game we play then the trophies can escape us.”