Portuguese coach, Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has rubbished suggestions that Roberto Martinez was first in line for the Portugal job, saying he was the “only choice” at one stage.
WHAT HAPPENED? The Euro 2016 winners found themselves in the market for a new coach after severing ties with long-serving Fernandes Santos on the back of a disappointing quarter-final defeat to Morocco at the 2022 World Cup. Mourinho was immediately billed as the ideal candidate to fill a prominent post, with a job-share proposal rumoured for the current Roma boss, but he ultimately shunned interest from his homeland and paved the way for former Belgium coach Martinez to be appointed on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
WHAT THEY SAID: Portuguese Football Federation president Fernando Gomes said at Martinez’s official unveiling: “What interested me from the first hour was defining the profile. We spoke, within this, with many people. The only concrete proposal we made to be a coach, was Roberto Martínez.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mourinho has refuted those claims, telling reporters after seeing Roma through to the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia: “Today I can talk to you and say something that maybe you are not very interested in, but I want to thank the president of the Portuguese Federation. What he said made me very proud, saying that I was not the first choice, but his only choice and that he would have done anything to get me home. He made me very happy. But I didn’t go, I’m here and I’m giving my all.”
WHAT NEXT? Mourinho has also been mooted as a potential candidate to take charge of the Brazil national team, following the departure of Tite, but the ex-Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager is tied to a contract at Roma through to 2024.