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Martino is new Barca manager

Spanish champions Barcelona have acted quickly to replace Tito Vilanova as coach after he stepped down from his position this week due to illness. Argentinean Gerado Martino has been appointed to fill the vacancy and has signed a two-year contract with the Catalan club.

The 58-year-old had been previously managing Argentinean side Newell’s Old Boys and took the Argentine Torneo final title last season with them. He has also managed Paraguay from 2006 to 2011. However Martino’s role with Barcelona will be his first in Europe since a short stint with Tenerife back in 1991.

Vilanova withdrew from his role with Barca to concentrate on his battle with cancer, an illness that he was diagnosed with last year. He left with the good wishes and support of all at Barcelona.

Martino’s appointment is the latest in what seems like an unprecedented period of change for Europe’s elite clubs. Alongside Barcelona, the last few months have seen new regimes at Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

In terms of the La Liga title, the bookies are convinced that despite the upheaval the title will again be heading to either Barcelona or Madrid. The Catalans are the champions and have the edge at 4/6 over their arch rivals, who come in at 5/4.

Early odds for the Champions League see holders Bayern Munich strongly tipped, joint favourites with Barca at 7/2. Real Madrid follow at 11/2 and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are backed at 10/1. Manchester clubs United and City are priced at a lengthier 12/1.

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