Roberto Martinez appointed Portugal boss

Roberto Martinez appointed Portugal boss

Roberto Martinez has been appointed as the new manager of the Portugal national team. The former Everton, Wigan and Swansea manager has worked in international football since 2016 when he became manager of Belgium. He takes over from Fernando Santos who resigned after defeat to Morocco in the World Cup quarter-finals. 

The Spaniard also resigned from his position as Belgium boss after the 2022 World Cup. Belgium, who were ranked the number one team in the world going into the tournament, were knocked out of the group stage after picking up just four points. 

Although he did take Belgium to the top of the Fifa rankings, he did fail to secure a major tournament victory during his time with the Red Devils. Given the talent at his disposal, he perhaps should have at least made a final. 

The Portuguese job gives him a second chance at international success. They, like Belgium when he took over, have a squad of talented players approaching the peak of their powers. Martinez’s first game in charge will be against Lichenstein in a European Championship qualifying game. 

The best talent in the world

At a press conference to announce the appointment, Martinez couldn’t hide his excitement at the opportunity at hand. He said:

“I am very happy to represent one of the national teams with the best talent in the world. I am very excited to be here. 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 man who appointed Martinez, Fernando Gomes, added that it was an “important moment” for the national team. 

Martinez will get to work straight away on identifying the players who will make up his first squad for Portugal’s first set of European qualifying fixtures in March. Like with Belgium, many of his star players play in the Premier League – a league Martinez knows well. 

ronaldo v morocco

How do you solve a problem like Ronaldo?

One of the biggest decisions that the Spaniard faces is the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. Under Santos, Ronaldo was the captain of the national team and an ever-present until the latter stages of lat month’s World Cup. 

Ronaldo was dropped for Portugal’s last 16 match with Switzerland and his replacement netted a hat trick. Ronaldo once again started on the bench in their quarter-final tie with Morocco but came on in the 51st minute to try and rescue the game. 

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner left the field in tears after the game, fueling speculation that he had played his final game for his country. However, he is yet to confirm that decision and is seemingly set to continue to be available for selection. 

With Ronaldo now playing his football for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, Martinez may take the decision to leave him out due to the level of competition he’ll be up against. Regardless, he has many other offensive weapons available to him including Goncalo Ramos and Joao Felix who will be chomping at the bit to start for their country going forward.

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