Messi gives backing to Martino

Barcelona: The position became available following the news on Friday of Tito Vilanova`s cancer relapse, which forced the 44-year-old to hand in his resignation to the club.

Martino, who guided Newell`s Old Boys to the title in Argentina last season, is one of the favourites to land the job according to reports emerging from South America and Messi believes `Tata` could be the right man for the role.

"I really like Martino, he is a great technician. He makes his teams play well and everybody respects that," he told Ole.

Martino has gained a strong reputation in South America following a four-year stint with Paraguay, with whom he was voted the South American Coach of the Year in 2007.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Heinze, 35, who plays for Newell`s, has also lent his support to his coach, insisting he is not shocked by the reports that Barca are interested in making Martino their boss.

"I`m not surprised Barca think about Tata Martino. I think he would be the ideal coach for Barcelona," he told Cope.

"Martino is a coach who doesn`t leave anything to chance. His focus is 100 per cent on ball possession."