Roberto Martinez is on the verge of becoming Portugal’s new manager, and the impending appointment has left fans saying the same thing. After guiding Belgium to a disappointing 2022 World Cup finish, the Spaniard is set to inherit an all-star squad ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
According to The Athletic, Martinez has verbally agreed to replace Fernando Santos, who left his eight-year post after the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Morocco.
Portugal are expected to finalise the appointment by the end of next week, beating other interest in the 49-year-old at club and international level.
Martinez took charge of Belgium in August 2016, overseeing a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup and a run to the quarter-finals at Euro 2020.
It was widely presumed he either resigned or was sacked after the Red Devils’ group-stage exit in Qatar this winter, finishing third in Group F behind Morocco and Croatia.
But after announcing his departure, Martinez insisted it was neither, and rather the simple instance that his contract had run its course.
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He said: “I don’t resign. It’s the end of my contract. Since 2018 I had many opportunities to leave and take jobs at club level, but I wanted to stay loyal.”
But regardless of how his Belgium bow-out came about, he faced mass scrutiny for his tactics and ageing squad selection in the Middle East.
And many fans have reacted to the news of his imminent Portugal appointment in disbelief, with the nation boasting an embarrassment of riches in the playing squad.
@PremLeaguePanel said: “Portuguese FA weren’t satisfied with seeing Martinez underperform with one golden generation, so they thought they’d give him the opportunity to do it with another. Incredible.”
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@owlscityisours added a dig at England boss Gareth Southgate with his comment: “Well, they won’t be winning anything anytime soon. Belgium wasted a golden generation with an average manager. Same as England currently are.”
Liverpool fan @Ianwayne22 wrote: “He must have the best agent in the world. Honestly, I don’t know how he keeps getting these jobs. Failed massively with a peak Belgium squad, awful at Everton. Stealing a living.”
@peterbissett1 added: “Not sure what he has done in the game to deserve the opportunities he gets. Clearly does a great interview.”
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