Roberto Martinez has been appointed as the new boss of the Portugal national team and he has outlined his plans for Al Nassr star Cristiano Ronaldo in his new-look setup.
New Portugal boss Roberto Martinez insists that Cristiano Ronaldo deserves “respect” as he confirmed that he will be part of his plans for future squads.
Ronaldo endured a frustrating World Cup as Portugal were beaten 1-0 by Morocco in their quarter-final in Qatar. The 37-year-old went straight down the tunnel in tears after missing out on the chance to add the only major honour missing from his glittering CV. Ronaldo’s 118 international goals is a record in football.
The striker was dropped from the starting line-up for Portugal’s Round of 16 6-1 demolition of Switzerland, with his replacement Goncalo Ramos netting a hat-trick. Ramos was again preferred over Ronaldo for the quarter-final loss to Morocco, with the former Manchester United striker coming on as a second-half substitute in both matches.
Ronaldo’s relationship with boss Fernando Santos reportedly soured during the tournament, with the veteran Portuguese boss now being replaced by Martinez in the dugout. The former Swansea, Wigan and Everton boss – who left the Belgium national team role last month – has now outlined his vision for his new side, including Ronaldo’s role.
“Football decisions have to be taken on the field of play,” Martinez told reporters on Monday. “I’m not an office decision-making coach. So my starting point is to get to all the players and I want to get in touch with them.
“The list of 26 players from the World Cup is my starting point and Cristiano is a player on that list, he has been with the national team for 19 years and he deserves the respect of being able to sit down and talk.
“From there it is to create, in ten weeks, the best team for our matches, for the qualification for the European Championship. Today is a day of satisfaction. Tomorrow we will start working, getting to know all the players and Cristiano is one of them.”
When pushed on what role Ronaldo could play in his national team, Martinez was somewhat evasive and replied that he was focused on “getting to know all the players that can join the national team.”
The Spaniard added: “From here, there are 54 players in the five biggest leagues who are under 28 years old, we have Benfica and FC Porto in the Champions League. In other words, my job is to give every player an opportunity and respect everyone who is already in the national team.
“From then on, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of them. It is a natural process, work and responsibility and of making important decisions for the team.”