Roberto Martinez has reportedly reached a ‘verbal agreement’ to take over as Portugal manager, despite overseeing Belgium’s disappointing World Cup campaign in Qatar.
The deal is expected to be completed ‘by the end of next week’, according to The Athletic.
The Spaniard appears to have opted to stay in international football, with a return to club management also mentioned following his departure as Belgium coach.
Roberto Martinez (pictured) is reportedly set to become Portugal’s next manager
Martinez’s contract in Belgium officially expired at the end of December, following six years in the role.
During his time as Belgium’s national coach, Martinez led the country to their best ever World Cup finish, finishing third in Russia in 2018.
Belgium suffered a quarter-final exit at Euro 2020 to become champions Italy, before leading the team to the World Cup in Qatar.
Martinez presided over a disappointing campaign that saw Belgium crash out in the group stages, despite entering the tournament as FIFA’s second-highest ranked team in the world.
Martinez left his role as head coach of Belgium following their disappointing World Cup in Qatar
Belgium’s World Cup campaign in Qatar has been dominated by claims of splits within the camp
The campaign has been dominated by reports of tension within the camp, after Kevin De Bruyne suggested his side were ‘too old’ to get away.
Defender Jan Vertonghen appeared to hit back at the comment after the Morocco defeat, saying ‘Maybe we attack too badly because we’re too old, that should be now, surely?’
Martinez last month hit out at claims of a split within the squad, when it was revealed he had informed the players of his decision to leave after the tournament ahead of their final group stage match against Croatia.
Despite boasting a string of star names, poor performances on the field led to an embarrassing early exit for a highly fancied side.
Fernando Santos was sacked following Portugal’s quarter-final exit to Morocco
Martinez was regarded by some as lacking in his tenure alongside the so-called ‘golden generation’ of Belgian talent.
Since taking the job, the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Dries Mertens, Thibaut Courtois and Thomas Meunier have all been in their prime and featured well.
Martinez said last month he wanted to take time off with his family before deciding on his next steps, but admitted he was open to talks from January.
The 49-year-old admitted he has no specific plans, when asked about a return to club or national team management.
Martinez last coached a club side when in charge of Everton, having previously been at Wigan and Swansea in the Premier League.
Since leaving the Belgium job, Martinez has been linked with the Club Brugge job which has since been taken over by Scott Parker, as well as international duties in Mexico and Poland.
A return to Everton has also been mooted, should the struggling Premier League side be sacked under pressure by boss Frank Lampard.
Martinez has been linked with a number of roles since leaving the Belgium post last month
Portugal are among the nations searching for a new manager following the World Cup after parting ways with Fernando Santos, who ended an eight-year stint with the national team that won him Euro 2016 and the Nations League in 2019.
However, following Portugal’s quarter-final exit to Morocco and his decision to bench captain Cristiano Ronaldo for both knockout games, the Portuguese has called time on his spell in charge.
Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas-Boas and Paulo Fonseca have been linked with the job.
Roma boss Jose Mourinho (pictured) has been linked with the job along with other big names
If Portugal chooses Martinez to replace Santos it will represent a departure from their usual practice of appointing homegrown or Brazilian coaches.
Brazil’s Otto Gloria and Luiz Felipe Scolari are the only non-Portuguese coaches to hold the role.
The Belgian FA is looking for Martinez’s successor, with the organization posting an ad for his successor.
The advert said the FA wanted to hire a coach who was ‘extremely ambitious’ and had ‘experience of managing top players’.
Martinez’s assistant coach Thierry Henry reportedly told the Belgian FA that he wants to replace him as head coach of the national team.