In a wide-ranging interview with Colombian radio station Caracol Radio late Tuesday night, Atlanta United manager Tata Martino spoke about his relationship with the Argentine FA, his interest in managing Colombia, and finally broke the silence on his contract status with Atlanta United.
Tuesday afternoon, reports trickled out of Argentina stating the Atlanta United manager was in talks with the Argentine FA about possibly returning to his native country to manage “La Albiceste,” but Martino denied the rumors in the interview. He did, however, say he would be interested in the opportunity if it were to arise.
Click here to listen to the interview in full. (Pause any autoplay, then click the red button “escuchar ahora.” The interview begins around 20:00 and is split in two segments.)
Fortunately, for those of us not as fluent in Spanish, Colombian journalist Juan G. Arango translated most of the important parts of the interview in a series of unthreaded tweets. The first is here:
Tata Martino: "They say here that it is very difficult in the first couple of seasons to do big things in @MLS. We've been able to evolve greatly this season. We do have an obligation to at least fight for the title until the end." [@AlargueCaracol]— Juan G. Arango (@JuanG_Arango) September 12, 2018
For the sake of brevity and clarity, I have edited and compiled text from Arango’s tweet stream. His timeline has more of Tata’s thought’s on the Argentine FA, coaching Lionel Messi, and how his heart pulled him away from Colombia once when he instead decided to take over at Newell’s Old Boys.
“I am flattered that I am being considered for the [Colombian National Team] job. I am very happy and calm with Atlanta United but I have a contract right now. But after it expires, I will look at the situation. I have not been contacted by anyone at the Colombian FA. I have to have a discussion with the brass here with Atlanta United... I have a date of October 1 to define the future of the team and mine as well. After what [ex-Colombian manager Jose] Pekerman has done, Colombia is one of the most attractive jobs in the world and one of the biggest national team around. It would be very attractive.”
”It is very difficult for anyone at [the Colombian FA] to contact my agent, I do not have one. Colombia would be an attractive job for any top coach.
”What I said about Colombia, it also applies to Argentina. I still have a contractual situation to resolve in Atlanta. I don’t have much else to add. I haven’t given an interview to the Argentine press in two years, but I will clear it up. I have not been contacted. I am willing to return to coach Argentina, but it is difficult to talk about things that are not concrete. It is also about respect, especially for the team I currently work for. Respect has to focus on truth and I have not been in contact with Colombia or Argentina. So for me to say that I would love to coach a team would be like I am offering myself for a situation I have not created. I would prefer to solve first my sporting situation and then the contractual one. I have to see if we are together two more years or we part ways.
Many speculations have been made with Argentina when there has been no contact. I just have to laugh. Right now, we are talking about thing that are up in the air. The only thing that is solid is my current job with Atlanta United.”
-Tata Martino via Caracol Radio, as translated by Juan G. Arango. Edited for clarity.
For Atlanta United fans, all of whom will be desperate for Martino to stay, there’s good and bad news. The good news is that the manager asserts he has not had contact with any other club or national team. The bad news is that he’s openly saying he’d be interested in coaching Colombia or Argentina.
It should be pointed out that Tata Martino has never stayed at a club for longer than two years in his career. Just look at the list of teams he’s managed:
Martino’s initial contract with Atlanta United is set to expire at season’s end, but it includes a mutual option to extend. Perhaps Martino’s penchant for brief club tenures is a reason why he negotiated a clause in his contract that gave him an out after two years. Two weeks ago, I asked Martino about that status of his contract and he was reticent in his answer, playing the issue off as “not important” and then declining to comment further. Now we know that the deadline is indeed approaching for Martino to notify the club of his decision.