Next Barça boss? It's Masia Man vs Tata Martino

After Vilanova, it's Luis Enrique or Tata Martino...

The reaction among the Barcelona media to the incredibly sad news of Tito Vilanova's enforced departure was similar to everyone else's. The aim was to strike the balance between the exceedingly important '“ the health of the manager and the welfare of his family '“ and the more trivial in comparison, Vilanova's replacement at the Camp Nou club.

Saturday brought reflection on Tito's single season, which brought the title winners a record 100 points. The hope was that this form would be transmitted into next season's Champions League, where there was certainly work to be done in catching up with Bayern Munich '“ but as Vilanova focuses on what Marca describe as 'the match of his life', the Camp Nou challenge will fall to someone else. 

The task will be all the harder now with a major change in strategy a month or so before the new league season starts. The front cover of Sport listed 10 possible candidates as the new manager, although most were going to be impossible due to unavailability or unwillingness to take on one of the most high-pressure jobs in football.

Sport's online poll had Jupp Heynckes as the fans' favourite '“ understandably, with the German being a Champions League-winning, experienced manager who'd work perfectly as a bench-warmer should Vilanova be able to return in 12 months time. In second place was former Athletic Bilbao manager Marcelo Bielsa, who had been a candidate for the job when Pep Guardiola left the club just over a year ago.

'Improvising is never good, but on this occasion, it is necessary. A Plan B is needed for this season,' wrote Sport's Josep Maria Casanovas. 'Heynckes has all the conditions to be sitting on the Camp Nou bench.'

Mundo Deportivo was also concerned, with Santi Nolla doubting how easy it would be for the team's footballers to recover from another tough moment in the life of the Catalan club. 'The group must now pick itself up again, but it will be difficult after the fifth blow,' wrote Nolla in Saturday's edition.

On Sunday a new figure emerged, a coach unknown to most fans in Spain. Former Newell's manager Gerardo '˜Tata' Martino recently left his post looking for a European adventure. Potential roles at Real Sociedad and Malaga didn't come to anything, but the indications are that the Argentinian is the chosen one to take over from Tito Vilanova.

However, another theory doing the rounds is that former Camp Nou player and B-team boss Luis Enrique will be the latest Masia man to assume the main role. The hitch here is that Enrique has only just taken over at Celta Vigo.

That's not just a problem logistically, but legally: by the league rules, a manager cannot coach two teams of the same division in the same season. However, for one reason or another Celta Vigo have yet to officially register him and it is thought that a big enough incentive could release the manager from his very fresh contract.

'His freedom will cost €3 million,' writes Casanovas in Monday's Sport, writing confidently that Enrique is the choice of club president Sandro Rosell. 'No foreigners, no famous names: they want a coach who knows the club, the dressing room and the players. The Asturian manager fits this profile.' Thus far unknown are Leo Messi's regal thoughts on the matter, with the Argentinian having apparently put his seal of approval on the appointment of his compatriot Mr Tata.

Another Sport poll indicates that if it were to become straight battle between the two figures, Enrique would be the Barcelona fans' preferred choice. He is more well-known, more familiar with the Spanish game and most importantly of all, much more Masia. What nobody is asking is what would become of Celta Vigo.


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