Roberto Martinez is the new coach of Portugal

Roberto Martinez is the new coach of Portugal

Spaniard Roberto Martinez has been appointed as Portugal coach, succeeding Portugal’s Fernando Santos, the Portuguese Football Federation announced on Monday.

After Belgium, the Spaniard Roberto Martinez will take charge of the Portuguese selection. The first challenge for the 49-year-old coach, whose contract duration has not yet been specified, will be to clarify the role of Cristiano Ronaldo who, after a controversial World Cup, has just offer a golden exile by joining the Saudi club of Al-Nassr.

“My starting point will be the group of 26 players who played in the World Cup, and Cristiano Ronaldo is one of them,” Martinez told a press conference, adding cautiously that he will take his decisions “in the field” and “not in an office”.

The Catalan had left the head of the Red Devils at the beginning of December by affirming that their early elimination at the World Cup was not the cause of his departure, decided according to his words, just before the tournament. Martinez took charge of Belgium in 2016, after the traumatic elimination in the quarter-finals of the Euro against Wales. Under his leadership, the team reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, beaten by France who would win the tournament, and was for more than three years at the top of the FIFA world rankings.

Portugal wants to start on a new dynamic

The Portugal team is also emerging from a long period of stability after eight years under the leadership of Fernando Santos, who offered them the first major titles in their history: Euro-2016 and the first edition of the League of nation in 2019.

When the 68-year-old coach announced his departure, five days after the elimination of the Seleçao in the quarter-finals of the World Cup-2022 against Morocco (1-0), the Portuguese press reported that the federation wanted to hire his compatriot José Mourinho, under contract with AS Roma. But attached to the Roman project, Mourinho remains in Italy and it is Roberto Martinez who is delighted.


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