From one red to another, Roberto Martinez bounces back with Portugal, only a few weeks after a pitiful elimination in the group stage at the controls of Belgium, during the World Cup in Qatar.
The Catalan succeeds Portuguese Fernando Santos.
The first challenge of the new coach, whose contract duration has not been specified immediately, will be to clarify the role of Cristiano Ronaldo who, after a World Cup rich in controversy, has just offered himself a golden exile. by joining the Saudi club 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".
🤝 Roberto Martínez não descarta CR7.
Que futuro tem esta dupla na seleção?
— SPORT TV (@SPORTTVPortugal) January 9, 2023
Martinez had left the head of the Red Devils in early December, saying that their early elimination at the World Cup was not the cause of his departure, decided according to him just before the tournament.
After a narrow victory against Canada (1-0), Belgium chained a defeat against Morocco (2-0) and a draw against Croatia (0-0).
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 go on to win the tournament, and for more than three years was at the top of the FIFA world rankings.
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 Nations. in 2019.
When Santos, 68, announced his departure, five days after the elimination of the Seleçao in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup against Morocco (1-0), the Portuguese press reported that the federation wanted to hire his compatriot José Mourinho, under contract with AS Roma.
It is finally the Martinez era that opens.
In Belgium, nothing has been decided for the moment and Thierry Henry still seems well placed to find a bench where he was previously Roberto Martinez's assistant.
Several players have positioned themselves in favor of the former Arsenal striker.