Roberto Martínez, new Portugal coach

Roberto Martínez during his presentation as Portugal coach. / REUTERS

The Spanish coach takes over from Fernando Santos on the bench of the Portuguese team

Roberto Martínez is already the new Portuguese soccer coach until 2026. Despite rumors that José Mourinho, Bruno Lage or Paulo Fonseca were the main candidates to lead the Portuguese team, the Portuguese Federation has opted for the Catalan coach to replace Fernando Santos, who left office after losing to Morocco in the quarterfinals of the recent World Cup in Qatar. Under the command of Santos, Portugal won its first two titles at an absolute level, Euro 2016 and the first Nations League, held in the 2018-19 season.

Bob Martínez, after leading clubs such as Swansea, Wigan, where he won the FA CUP in 2013, and Everton, will face his second experience as a coach after coaching Belgium. With the golden generation of the ‘red devils’, led by players of the stature of Courtois, De Bruyne or Eden Hazard, he won the bronze medal at the 2018 World Cup and reached the quarterfinals of the 2020 Euro Cup, held in 2021 due to the pandemic. However, the Spanish coach resigned after failing to pass the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar, a competition marked by conflicts within the Belgian dressing room.

Roberto Martínez, who has recently been in the pools to be coach of FC Barcelona and Spanish coach to replace Luis Enrique, will become the first coach in the history of Portugal who does not have Portuguese as his mother tongue, since the previous 52 they had local or Brazilian nationality. In fact, until now, only two foreigners had sat on the Portuguese bench: Otto Glória and Luiz Felipe Scolari.

The main and closest objective of the Catalan coach will be the qualification for the Eurocopa 2024. Portugal is in the apparently simple group J with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Liechtenstein. In addition, the Spanish coach will have to manage the situation of Cristiano Ronaldo, recently transferred to Al-Nassr, and will try to exploit the performance of João Félix, Rafael Leão or Gonçalo Ramos, the promises called to lead the Portuguese team for the next decade.



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