Portugal announce the appointment of Roberto Martinez as their new coach.
Portugal appoint former Belgium Roberto Martinez as their new coach after sacking Fernando Santos.
Portugal has confirmed the appointment of former Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, who replaces Fernando Santos as head coach of the national team.
Santos was fired after Portugal’s disappointing performance at the World Cup, which ended in a 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Morocco. The camp had been marred by negative press and rumours of unrest in the team, and Cristiano Ronaldo had been benched and had a falling-out with Santos.
Martinez himself had a World Cup to forget with Belgium, who failed to even make it out of the group stage and also had a crisis within the squad – with the Spaniard criticised for struggling to make the most of his talented group during his six-year tenure with the side.
The former Everton manager is now looking forward to a new beginning with Portugal, who welcomed him as their “new leader at service.”
‘I appreciate the enthusiasm and ambition with which he (Martinez) received the invitation,’ FPF President Fernando Gomes told a news conference as Martinez stood next to him. ‘This is an important moment for the national team.’
He will also be looking to speak with captain Ronaldo after his turbulent few weeks in Qatar where he is reported to have irked teammates over his attitude and threatened to leave their camp after being dropped by Santos.
Now at Al-Nassr, Ronaldo will be weighing up whether he will play for Portugal again and sorting out his future should be a huge port of call for Martinez.
Martinez stood down after Belgium were eliminated from the World Cup after they were held to a 0-0 draw against Croatia – with his team needing to win the game to have any chance of progessing.
- Fernando Santos leaves his position as Portugal manager
- Pep Guardiola advises Chelsea FC about Graham Potter’s potential.
- Roberto Martinez announces his departure from the Belgian national team.
‘That was my last game with the national team and it was emotional as you can imagine,’ he said at the time. ‘I always work towards long-term projects and they need to be set in advance. That was always the plan.
He explained more about his decision to leave this month, saying he ‘couldn’t control all the emotions anymore’ as he revealed he told the players he was leaving before their final game against Croatia.
‘It was really difficult to get the message that I was going to stop,’ Martinez said.
‘To you, but certainly to the players. I had never done it before and hope I never have to do it again. I couldn’t control all the emotions anymore.’
Portugal fans may be concerned about Martinez’s ability to keep the dressing room together after reports of a feud in the squad during the World Cup.
There were claims that Belgium players flew home separately from Qatar at their own expense after rumours of in-fighting and leaks.
During his time as Belgium’s national coach, Martinez led the nation to their best World Cup finish, placing third in Russia in 2018.
Belgium suffered a quarter-final exit at Euro 2020 to eventual champions Italy, before leading the team at the World Cup in Qatar.
Despite entering the competition as FIFA’s second-ranked squad in the world, Martinez oversaw a disastrous campaign in which Belgium crashed out in the group stages after losing 2-0 to Morocco and just barely defeating Canada.
He began his managing career in 2007 with Swansea City, where he received praise for his dynamic possession-based style of play. In 2009, he moved on to manage Wigan Athletic. While the Lactics were demoted the following year, he faced relegation numerous times before securing an amazing FA Cup victory over Man City in 2013.
In his debut season with Everton, he finished in fifth place. However, he could only manage 11th the next year, and in 2015–16, his team was still in the middle of the table when he was fired in May.
Martinez was unexpectedly appointed as Belgium’s manager in 2016, but many observers and fans have questioned why he did not do more with a team that was stacked with talented players at the time, including Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, and Toby Alderweireld.
He has recently been connected to the Club Brugge position, but he decided to continue with managing the national team instead, with his old assistant Thierry Henry in line to succeed him.