I didn`t appoint Martino: Messi

Barcelona: Lionel Messi has rubbished suggestions he was behind Barcelona`s decision to hire Gerardo Martino as the club`s new coach.

The 44-year-old was confirmed as Tito Vilanova`s replacement - who stepped down to continue his recovery from a cancer relapse - on Tuesday, after a successful stint in charge of Messi`s childhood side Newell`s Old Boys.

That has led to rumours the four-time Ballon d`Or winner had a strong influence in the club`s latest appointment, something he was quick to dismiss after Barca were beaten 2-0 by Bayern in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday.

He said: "I don`t have anything to do with the signing of Martino and I have nothing to explain. It`s [Barca president Sandro] Rosell and the club`s thing. At that time, I said that he looked like a good coach, but I have nothing to explain.

"I don`t know him personally and have never seen him or Luis Enrique, who was also linked. He seems to be a good signing as he has demonstrated with Newell`s and Paraguay that he is capable. Hopefully he`ll do well here.

"After Tito`s departure, we must begin again. It will be a hard season for us."

Martino also enjoyed success with Paraguay, guiding the nation to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup - where they were beaten by Spain - and the final of the 2011 Copa America, only to be beaten 3-0 by Uruguay at the final hurdle.