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Heinze named new Atlanta coach

Los Angeles (AFP) – Atlanta United named former Argentina international Gabriel Heinze as the team’s new head coach on Friday.

The former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid defender joins the Major League Soccer side after a successful stint with Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield.

“This is a milestone moment in Atlanta United history, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Gabriel as our next head coach,” Atlanta president Darren Eales said in a statement.

“We cast the net widely for this important hire, and Gabriel quickly emerged as the No. 1 candidate. Gabriel is one of the top coaches in South American soccer and we are delighted that he chose Atlanta United.

“Whilst his resume speaks for itself, Gabriel’s playing philosophy and commitment to youth development closely align with our ideas at Atlanta United, and we are happy to welcome him as we move into our club’s next chapter.”

The 42-year-old Heinze is just the third permanent coach in Atlanta United’s history. He takes over from interim manager Stephen Glass, who replaced Frank de Boer in July.

Another Argentinian, former Barcelona coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, led Atlanta to the MLS Cup crown in 2018, just a year after the team joined the league.

Heinze will be expected to revive Atlanta’s fortunes after a disappointing season where they finished 12th in the Eastern Conference and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in the club’s brief history.

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