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 organization of Argentina’s favorite sport.
Martino’s decision was “due to the lack of clarity in the naming of new leaders for the association and the serious inconveniences in forming a squad to represent the country in the coming Olympic Games,” the statement said. Argentine media said Martino was frustrated at clubs not releasing players for the national squad in time for the Olympics. Former Barcelona coach Martino 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.
He led the team to the Copa America final last year and again last month in the centenary edition. They were beaten both times by Chile on penalties. The president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, Gerardo Werthein, warned on the radio shortly before Tuesday’s announcement that there was “50-percent chance” Argentina would miss the Olympic football competition.