When Fernando Santos known as time on his eight-year stint as Portugal head coach after their 2022 World Cup quarter-final elimination, few would have accurately predicted his alternative.
Roberto Martinez additionally left his nationwide crew function after the event in Qatar, with Belgium disappointingly falling on the group stage.
The previous Everton and Wigan Athletic boss took the Pink Devils to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018, earlier than reaching the final eight of Euro 2020, being eradicated by the eventual winners in each.
Martinez finds himself accountable for A Selecao now after his appointment was confirmed on Monday, and there’s loads of work to be completed.
Qualifiers for the 2024 European Championships get underway in March and with the expertise at their disposal, Portugal have to be fancied to be among the many favorites for the event in Germany.
Stats Carry out has taken a take a look at 5 issues in Martinez’s in-tray that he might want to contemplate if he’s to search out success along with his new crew.
Clear up the Ronaldo conundrum
“Selections need to be made on the pitch. I will not rush into choices. I wish to meet everybody, and from right this moment I wish to speak and meet all of the gamers,” Martinez mentioned at his first press convention as Portugal coach.
“Christian [Ronaldo] is a part of that record. He is had 19 years within the nationwide crew and he deserves respect, let’s speak. From there, it is as much as me to make one of the best record for the European Championships.”
Ronaldo has 118 targets in 196 caps for Portugal, undeniably a world report to be happy with, however he will probably be 38 years outdated when Martinez takes cost of his first sport.
One of many new boss’ greatest points with Belgium was getting one of the best out of growing old stars, and with Portugal arguably wanting far sharper when Ronaldo was benched in Qatar – hat-trick hero v Switzerland Goncalo Ramos particularly – maybe now’s the proper time to permit the previous Actual Madrid and Juventus man to totally deal with his new journey in Saudi Arabia and name time on his worldwide profession.
Getting one of the best out of Joao Felix
This can be a downside Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is all too acquainted with, therefore why Joao Felix is being linked with a mortgage transfer to the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal as an alternative of lighting up LaLiga on a weekly foundation.
The 23-year-old has loads of expertise, however a scarcity of consistency believes the nine-figure price Atletico paid Benfica for him again in 2019.
If Martinez chooses to maneuver on from Ronaldo although, Joao Felix may discover the house and accountability to thrive at worldwide stage as a part of a crew the place everybody can be anticipated to chip in.
Of the gamers to have featured in no less than 14 LaLiga video games this season, solely Mikel Merino, Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele common greater than Joao Felix’s 0.42 assists per 90.
Use Dias to construct stable basis
Arguably Martinez’s primary wrestle by the tip of his time with Belgium was managing a protection stuffed with gamers who have been a number of years previous their prime.
He might want to be sure that Portugal keep freshness there as a superb protection will all the time offer you an opportunity in worldwide competitions, akin to when Portugal conceded simply as soon as in 4 knockout video games on their technique to successful Euro 2016.
One key resolution might be taken out of his arms, with Pepe anticipated to announce his retirement from worldwide soccer, however in Ruben Dias, Martinez has the proper determine to construct his protection round.
The Manchester Metropolis centre-back is likely one of the finest in Europe and has proven beneath Pep Guardiola he may also be relied upon in a backline that pushes excessive to shut house and permits the assault to press from the entrance, one thing Martinez has usually favored when he has had the instruments to take action.
Construct round Bruno
Since his transfer to Man Utd in January 2020, Bruno Fernandes has confirmed himself to be one of many premier midfielders in Europe, and on the World Cup, he started to point out that he can lead for his nationwide crew as effectively.
Solely Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi (each 10) had extra purpose involvements than Fernandes’ 5 (two targets, three assists) in Qatar, whereas no-one produced greater than his three assists.
Within the Premier League this season, solely Kevin De Bruyne (41) has created extra probabilities from open play than his 40, with the Manchester Metropolis man having performed a sport extra, and with loads of attacking firepower to purpose for with Portugal, Fernandes can in concept fill his help boots over the approaching years beneath Martinez.
Benefit from Leo
A type of Fernandes abilities must be working with is Rafael Leao, one of the thrilling attackers in Europe proper now.
Whereas Santos had loads of different nice gamers to select from, it was stunning to see Leao lowered to only substitute appearances in all 5 video games on the World Cup, although he nonetheless produced two targets earlier than Portugal have been ultimately eradicated by Morocco within the quarter-finals .
The Milan ahead ought to actually be Martinez’s main weapon on the left of the assault, particularly if he can replicate the shape that noticed him win Serie A’s participant of the season award because the Rossoneri claimed the Scudetto in 2021-22.