Belgium’s ex-coach Roberto Martinez reaches verbal agreement to manage Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal: Report

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Former Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has reached a verbal agreement to become Portugal’s new coach, a report in the Athletic revealed.

Martinez, a former Everton coach, was on the radar of many international and club teams after he stepped down from the Belgium job back in December after the Red Devils failed to clear the Group Stage at the Qatar World Cup.

Portugal also fell short of their World Cup goals when they were eliminated by Morocco in the quarterfinals as the gulf between then manager Fernando Santos and star player Cristiano Ronaldo widened. After being subbed off in a Group stage match against South Korea, Ronaldo had made a gesture which many thought was a message to Santos. The forward would categorically deny that but the axe fell swiftly after that. The once dominant striker was dropped to the bench for both Portugal’s knock out games.

The big question now is will Martinez get Ronaldo to play for Portugal? Last October, Martinez had this to say about Cristiano Ronaldo: “”Ronaldo is a legendary footballer. When the list of contenders for the Ballon d’Or was published, he was still ahead of all the other Manchester United players on it.

But he faced two problems. The first is that he’s 37 years old, and he has to have a bad match and they say he’s “too old”. It’s almost as if he’s not allowed to have weak games at all.

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The problem is also the fact that you can make five substitutions this season. Ronaldo started at a time when substitutions during a game were considered something bad. Now we see that players from the attacking group don’t play 90 minutes regularly, sometimes only going out for 20-30 – because of the intensity of the APL and the demands it makes,” Martinez had told Amazon Prime.

Martinez coached Belgium to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup. He was in charge of the team for six years.


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