FORMER Belgium and Everton manager Roberto Martinez has been appointed Portugal head coach.
The Spaniard, 49, replaces Fernando Santos, who resigned after Portugal’s quarter-final defeat by Morocco at the World Cup last month.
Martinez stood down as Belgium coach after six years in charge following their group-stage exit in Qatar.
“I am very happy to represent one of the national teams with the best talent in the world,” said Martinez.
“I am very excited to be here. From the first time I spoke with the president of the federation I knew this was a sporting project that would excite me.
“I understand there are great expectations and big objectives, but there is a great team of people at the federation and I have great excitement that together we can achieve those objectives.”
Portugal football president Fernando Gomes said: “This is an important moment for the national team.”
Martinez spent four years as Wigan manager, which included winning the 2013 FA Cup, before a three-year spell at Everton in which they finished fifth once and 11th twice in the Premier League.
Appointed Belgium coach in 2016, he led them to the top of the Fifa rankings in 2018 after they came third at the World Cup in Russia.
Portugal won the 2016 European Championship and the 2018-19 Nations League during Santos’ eight years in charge.
However, they won only one of their three group matches in Qatar and their campaign was overshadowed by Santos dropping forward Cristiano Ronaldo for the knockout matches.
https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.47.2/iframe.htmlFull time scenes as Morocco become the first African side to make World Cup semi-finals
Martinez said: “My point of departure will be the squad of 26 players who played in the World Cup, and Cristiano Ronaldo is one of them.”
He added that he would make decisions “on the pitch and not in an office”.
Martinez was criticised by some for not getting more out of the so-called ‘golden generation’ of Belgian players, including Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
A.ITags: Cristiano Ronaldo Eden Hazard Kevin de Bruyne Roberto Martinez Romelu Lukaku.