Roberto Martinez has reportedly reached an agreement to become Portugal’s new boss after his World Cup flop with Belgium.
The Portugal job has been up for grabs following Fernando Santos’ departure after the nation crashed out at the quarter-final stages to Morocco in the Qatar World Cup. And Martinez’s appointment to replace Fernandes is set to be finalised next week, despite his World Cup flop with Belgium, according to The Athletic.
Belgium’s ageing ‘golden generation’ were sent packing in the group stages of the tournament amid reports of internal squabbles between players in the dressing room. It was claimed Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne had to be split up, although Martinez dismissed the reports as fake news, despite a bunch of stars booking separate flights on the way home from Qatar.
The nation’s shock exit culminated in Martinez resigning as manager and Hazard also quitting international football. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Belgium under Martinez, who led them to the semi-finals and a third place finish in the 2018 World Cup held in Russia, and to the quarter-finals of the Euro 2020 tournament, when eventual winners Italy beat them 2-1.
Martinez’s debacle with Belgium in Qatar wasn’t helped by the fact that a number of their stars such as Hazard, 32, Jan Vertonghen, 35, and Axel Witsel, 33, were no longer in their prime, with other members of the ‘golden generation’ having long retired.
But now he is set to get the chance to work with some fresh talent at Portugal like Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement Goncalo Ramos. The 21-year-old scored a brace in Portugal’s 6-1 rout over Switzerland in the last-16 of the World Cup in Ronaldo’s absence.
And some fans seem to Martinez is a good choice for the role as he done a good job with Belgium. One fan explained: “Imo, Martinez performed adequately. Belgium’s third place in Russia was an achievement.
“Having lost the semis to France. Considering how they woefully got knocked out by Wales in the Euros in France two years prior.”
Another fan echoed a similar view and added: “Not saying he’s best choice but Martinez gets so much unjust hate, got them 3rd in World Cup in the ‘golden generation’ as though France the winners don’t have one of the best teams ever. And for this WC just look at the misses players like Lukaku had, not on the manager.”
But some supporters were perplexed by the news of Martinez’s slated appointment as they feel he’ll ‘ruin’ Portugal’s ‘golden generation’, like he did to Belgium’s wonderkids, in their eyes. One fan fumed: “This is easily the worst appointment in football history. Why would you give a Spaniard who just underperformed with a golden generation another chance?”
While another scoffed: “Time to ruin another golden generation.” Before Portugal swooped in on Martinez, he was 7/1 by Betfair to take over from Frank Lampard at old club Everton, however, Wayne Rooney is the bookies’ favourite at evens to be given the role.