Jul 07, 2016

    First Messi, now coach Martino calls it a day


    ARGENTINA head coach Gerardo Martino announced his resignation on Tuesday, deepening the chaos in the frustrated squad a month before the Olympics after its star striker Lionel Messi also quit.

    In a statement published by the Argentina Football Association (AFA), Martino said he and his coaching staff quit due to management disputes in the association and difficulties in getting the squad together in time for the Olympics.

    The blow came less than two weeks after Messi said he was quitting following defeat to Chile in the Copa America Centenario - which sparked demonstrations by fans desperate for him to stay.

    The crisis in the national squad laid bare managerial squabbles in the AFA that are blamed for disrupting the organisation of the country's favourite sport.

    Argentine media said Martino was frustrated with clubs not releasing players for the national squad in time for the Olympics.

    The former Barcelona coach took over the Argentina team after the 2014 World Cup, in which they were beaten 1-0 by Germany after extra-time in the final.

    He guided Argentina to 29 wins, seven draws and three defeats.

    The president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, Gerardo Werthein, warned on the radio shortly before Tuesday's announcement that there was "50 per cent chance" the country would miss the Olympic football competition.