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Roberto Martínez confirmed as Portugal manager

Former Belgium manager Roberto Martínez will lead Portugal for the next four years up until the 2026 World Cup.

Former Belgium manager Roberto Martínez will lead Portugal for the next four years up until the 2026 World Cup.
Kevin C. CoxGetty Images

The Portuguese Soccer Federation have confirmed the appointment of Roberto Martínez as Fernando Santos’ successor, with the former Belgium boss having signed a contract to coach Cristiano Ronaldo – maybe? – and co until 2026. The deal will see him attempt to lead A Seleção to the European Championships in Germany in 2024 and the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Having been in charge since 2014, Santos left his position as Portugal boss following their 1-0 quarter-final defeat at the hands of Morocco at the Qatar 2022 World Cup. The 68-year-old hit the headlines for dropping captain and talisman Ronaldo from the starting line-up in both the round of 16 and the quarter-finals before turning to the now-Al Nassr star in a failed attempt to rescue the tie against the Atlas Lions.

What international trophies have Portugal won?

Santos, who has managed all three of the Portuguese ‘giants’, led the country to the only two major trophies in their history during his time at the helm, with a difficult-to-beat Portugal defeating France to win Euro 2016 on French soil before going on to win the first ever edition of the UEFA Nations League in 2019.

Martínez also found himself out of a job after the World Cup, with Belgium flattering to deceive in Qatar, although he stated that he had already made his decision to step down before the tournament. The ex-Wigan and Everton boss was tasked with making the most of the Red Devils’ much-heralded ‘Golden Generation’ but ultimately came up short. The Belgians finished third in the 2018 World Cup in Russia in his first tournament but got steadily worse, losing to eventual winners Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 before suffering a shock exit in the group stage in Qatar, also at the hands of Morocco.

What did Roberto Marínez say about Cristiano Ronaldo at his unveiling?

Will Martínez fare any better with Portugal? It seems that he’s already on the back foot; in a survey conducted by Portuguese newspaper A Bola, almost 75% of fans who took part said they didn’t want the Spaniard as their new manager.

At his unveiling on Monday, Martínez was inevitably asked about the future of 37-year-old Ronaldo, who is reportedly keen to continue playing for Portugal despite his advancing years and move to the Middle East.

Decisions have to be taken on the field. I’m not a coach who makes rash decisions. I want to meet everyone and from today I want to talk and meet all the players. Cristiano is on that list, he’s spent 19 years in the national team and he deserves respect, so we’ll talk. From then on, it’s up to me to put together the best roster for the European Championships. Tomorrow we will start working, getting to know all the players, and Cristiano is one of them”.


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