Portugal has confirmed the hiring of former Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, who replaces Fernando Santos as head coach of the national team.
Santos was fired after Portugal’s dismal performance at the World Cup, which culminated in their 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Morocco. The camp had been marred by negative press and rumors of discontent in the team, and Cristiano Ronaldo had been benched and had a falling-out with Santos.
With Belgium, Martinez had a World Cup to forget as they failed to advance past the group stage and experienced a squad crisis. The Spaniard was criticized for failing to capitalize on his talented group during his six-year tenure with the team.
The former Everton boss will now be hoping for a fresh start with Portugal – who heralded his arrival as their ‘new leader at service’.
FPF President Fernando Gomes spoke at a press conference with Martinez by his side and said, “I appreciate the excitement and ambition with which he (Martinez) embraced the invitation.” “This is a crucial time for the national team,” was said.
After a challenging tournament in Qatar, Martinez’ first goal will be to assist a demoralized team in regrouping so they can concentrate on winning Euro 2024, which will be held in Germany.
After his rocky few weeks in Qatar, where he is said to have irritated squad members with his attitude and threatened to leave their camp after being released by Santos, he will also be hoping to talk with captain Ronaldo.
Ronaldo will be deciding whether to play for Portugal again while still at Al-Nassr, so Martinez should pay close attention to how he resolves his future.
Martinez resigned after his team, Belgium, was held to a 0-0 draw by Croatia, which resulted in their elimination from the World Cup. His team needed to win the game in order to have any chance of moving on.
It was emotional, as you could imagine, because it was my last game with the national team, he remarked at the time. I always work on long-term initiatives, and they must be planned out in advance. The idea was always to do that.
He went on to discuss his decision to resign this month, claiming that he “couldn’t handle all the emotions longer” and revealing that he informed the players of his departure prior to their final match against Croatia.
Martinez added, “It was incredibly hard to get the message that I was going to stop.” To you, but undoubtedly to the players.
I hope I never have to do it again. And I had never done it before. I was no longer able to control my feelings.