Roberto Martinez remains coy over Cristiano Ronaldo’s role in his new Portugal team after the striker’s dismal World Cup campaign in Qatar… but insists the 37-year-old will be given ‘opportunity and respect’

New Portugal boss Roberto Martinez announced his intentions to sit down with talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and discuss his future with the team after his role with Portugal was left uncertain following the World Cup. 

Ronaldo was dropped by Fernando Santos for both of Portugal’s knockout clashes in Qatar, but the ex-Belgium coach insisted that the forward was a player he was keen to ‘contact’ after assuming the role. 

Martinez was announced as the new Portugal boss on Monday, having previously come to a verbal agreement despite his struggles at the World Cup with Belgium, and will look to contact the new Al-Nassr forward and discuss what part he will play.  

Roberto Martinez (R) was officially announced as the new manager of Portugal on Monday

Roberto Martinez (R) was officially announced as the new manager of Portugal on Monday

At his first press conference after being officially announced as the Portugal boss, Martinez spoke of his intentions to ‘create the best team’ possible moving forward. 

‘Decisions are made on the pitch,’ he began. ‘I don’t make decisions in the office. I hope to contact all the players. 

‘Cristiano Ronaldo is a player that makes the list. He has been in the national team for 19 years. 

Martinez revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo was a player he was keen to 'sit down' and talk with

Martinez revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo was a player he was keen to ‘sit down’ and talk with

‘I hope we can sit down with him and create the best team. It’s a day of great satisfaction, but tomorrow we’ll get down to business.’

Martinez inherits a side in flux. Many of the players in Santos’ squad for Qatar are approaching the ends of their careers – Ronaldo, Pepe, Rui Patricio – whereas the country can also look forward to one of the most exciting young teams in Europe. 

Joao Felix, Ruben Dias, Diogo Costa, Rafael Leao and Goncalo Ramos – who took Ronaldo’s place in the starting line-up against Switzerland and Morocco – are all still 25 or under. 

But Martinez also spoke of an intention to get to know each and every player eligible for the national team through ‘a footballing process’ and said he was delighted to have players like the five-time Ballon d’Or winner by his side.  

The 37-year-old was dropped by Fernando Santos in both of Portugal's knockout clashes

The 37-year-old was dropped by Fernando Santos in both of Portugal’s knockout clashes

‘We’re going to start a footballing process to try to get to know all the players that could make it to the national team,’ Martinez continued. 

‘We’re going to give all the players an opportunity and respect all those who are already in the national team. Cristiano is one of them. 

‘I’m delighted to be able to have them by my side. It’s a process that we have to face naturally, with responsibility, and we’re going to make important decisions for the team.’

The current captain of the side, Ronaldo is his country’s leading scorer and appearance maker, and holds the record for international goals (118) and equalled the record for caps (196) against Morocco in December.  

Martinez arrives in the Portugal hot seat after a dismal campaign with Belgium in Qatar

Martinez arrives in the Portugal hot seat after a dismal campaign with Belgium in Qatar



Source link