On Monday, the white glamor of Lisbon gave itself away to preside over the first training session of Roberto Martínez (Balaguer, Lleida, 49 years old) in charge of the Portuguese team. For a man who has spent the last 30 years of his life as a player and coach under rainy UK and Belgium skies, the warmth of a Lisbon afternoon prompted him to ask for tables for the aerobics to be done. In the gym will be held outdoors. The training field of the modern facilities of the Portuguese Federation has been invaded by mats and exercise bikes. In this regard, the Portuguese internationals are set to raise the curtain on the first non-Portuguese speaking coach in history. The vast majority of them were part of the team that, under the stewardship of Fernando Santos, was eliminated by Morocco in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. For Thursday’s entertaining premieres against Liechtenstein in Braga (20.45, Uefa TV), and Sunday’s visit to Luxembourg, Martínez did not turn on the revolution demanded by a large part of the Portuguese fans. The symbol of change should be that Cristiano Ronaldo is not included.
“This is a new cycle that makes us with Cristiano better. He is our captain and it is very important to use his experience,” said the Spanish coach in his first official press conference before the match. Although he brings at least two hours of Portuguese a day and the local press congratulates him when he issued the list, only that Martinez preferred to express himself in Spanish to avoid misunderstandings, he warned in general that “decisions in football and sports will be taken on the field”.
At 38 years old and without finding a great European club to welcome him to, Cristiano had to settle for a millionaire to start the end of his career in Saudi Arabia, and it didn’t go unnoticed in his country either. “My role in the national team has always been the same. My motivation is intact. I am here as if it were the first time. After 20 years, being here is not easy,” Ronaldo replied when asked if his role in the national team would change in this new phase. .
Cristiano defended, “The Arab League, if what they planned is implemented, it will be one of the best six or seven leagues in the world.” For the time being, Martinez allowed him to remain in competitive first-line football for the national team. Today Cristiano, with a score of 197, will become the most capped player.
In the first two months, Martínez excited the Portuguese team with his methodology more than the list of selected players. The continuity of his list has to do with the magic created by the wealth of talent that led him to accept the offer from the Portuguese Federation. After six years of work as a coach in Belgium, the body asked him to lead a club in the English Premier League, where he was in demand by Everton and a few others. “The individual level of the Portuguese player is impressive,” he noted.
The Portuguese nurseryman captivated Martinez, who started from the 200-man shortlist. Since taking over he and his coaching staff have traveled across the country from one end to the other to watch matches of all categories, including some in the Youth League. He is committed to discovering the diversity of the distinctive features of the fruitful quarries of the country; Differentiate what a player can contribute depending on whether they trained in Lisbon, Guimarães, Braga or Porto schools.
The aim of his stubborn Portuguese dip – “Knowing the importance of the national anthem, I want to learn it because it is a rallying cry for a team and represents a lot,” he said – is to win a title with the national team of a country many fans believe the talent that impresses Martinez needs to be displayed more daring and flashy than Presented by his predecessor, Fernando Santos.
“It’s a different season for all of us, the energy is positive. The mentality is different, new ideas, I’m not saying better or worse than before. Sometimes changes are good and I think they will be for Portugal, ”expects Cristiano. “We will attack with more people,” Joao Félix declared. Meanwhile, Martinez concludes, “The quality of a Portuguese footballer allows him to play tiki-taka and make quick transfers. We must be flexible to change the structure from game to game and during it. That’s why it was important for me to start with a group of experienced players.” .
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