Martino steps down as Barcelona coach
© AFP

Gerardo Martino has stepped down as Barcelona coach after they missed out on the Spanish La Liga title in a 1-1 draw with champions Atletico Madrid. Martino had been widely expected to leave, win or lose in Saturday evening's crunch clash at the Camp Nou, and Barça confirmed the news as his post-match press conference was beginning.

"Martino has announced that, by mutual agreement with the club, he ceases to be the coach of FC Barcelona," the club said on their Twitter account.

"In agreement with the club I am no longer the coach," Martino said. "I deeply regret not having achieved the goals that this club has always been set and achieved. These are great players. My greatest gratitude goes to the players. They have made me proud."

Barça's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said: "We are grateful to 'Tata'. This has been a tough season."

Barcelona went into their final match of the season needing a win over Atletico Madrid to steal the title away from Diego Simeone's men, but despite taking the lead through Alexis Sanchez's 34th-minute wonder strike, they were pegged back by a Diego Godin header early in the second half and Atletico held on for their first title since 1996.

These are great players. My greatest gratitude goes to the players. They have made me proud.
Gerardo Martino

Atletico did so despite losing key players Diego Costa and Arda Turan in injury in the space of eight minutes early in the first half, with the club confirming that Costa has suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury which leaves his hopes of playing in next week's UEFA Champions League final in the balance.

"It was a very hard game," Atletico's on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told Sky Sports 1. "I think not a lot of people gave us a chance after last week's draw because Barça just had to win at home and they were really ready for this game.

"After 20 minutes we lost two important players and we went 1-0 behind, but in the second half you saw how we came back. We had to suffer but we suffered and we won. This is the story of Atletico Madrid. For so many years Madrid and Barça had all the money, they buy a lot of good players but we had to find another way.

"We had good players, not the best but we worked harder, suffered in training and had good tactics. You can achieve good things. The supporters of Atletico have had difficult years but now they can have some great years and hopefully next week we can give them another trophy."