Stunned that after underperforming with Belgium’s golden generation of footballers that the Portugal FA has decided that Roberto Martinez is the man to take over their own golden generation.
Portugal fired Fernando Santos after a disappointing World Cup that saw Portugal beaten 1-0 by Morocco in the quarter-finals. The defeat capped off a camp that was plagued by negative headlines and rumours of discontent in the squad – with Cristiano Ronaldo dropped and falling out with his manager.
Martinez himself had a World Cup to forget with Belgium, who failed to even make it out of the group stage as the Spaniard was criticized for struggling to make the most of his talented group during his six-year tenure with the side.
Martinez said: ‘I am very excited to be here. I am very happy to represent one of the national teams with the best talent in the world.
‘From the first time I spoke with the president of the federation I knew this was a sporting project that would excite me.
‘I understand there are great expectations and big objectives, but there is a great team of people at the federation and I have great excitement that together we can achieve those objectives.’
The Portuguese FA did confirm that Jose Mourinho was a contender for the job, but added that Martinez was the only coach offered the role.
‘Mourinho? We talked with many different coaches that fit the profile we were looking for, but there was only one official proposition which was done to Roberto’.
Martinez’s first task will be solving the Cristiano Ronaldo problem. It was a difficult World Cup for Ronaldo who is reported to have irked team-mates over his attitude and threatened to leave their camp after being dropped by Santos.
‘Footballing decisions have to be taken on the field. I am not a manager to make decisions in an office.
‘I want to contact all the players in the squad, the list of 26 players, from the last World Cup. That is my starting point and Cristiano is one of the players on that list.
‘He has spent 19 years in the national team. We will sit down and speak.’
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.
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