Mourinho aims sly dig at Portugal chief as ex-Tottenham boss was the ‘only choice’ for Martinez’s job

Mourinho on Portugal Credit: Alamy
Mourinho on Portugal Credit: Alamy

AS Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has had a dig at Portugal’s Football Federation president after he decided against replacing Fernando Santos.

The Portuguese manager left his role at Tottenham Hotspur towards the end of the 2020/21 campaign. He returned quickly as he took over at Serie A side AS Roma.

Mourinho has fared pretty well over the past couple of seasons. He helped Roma win the Europa Conference League last season and they are now seventh in Serie A.

He was mentioned as a potential successor for Santos after Portugal suffered a disappointing exit in the World Cup. They were knocked out of the quarter-finals by Morocco.

Portugal have instead opted to appoint Roberto Martinez, who departed Belgium following their elimination from the World Cup.

Portuguese FF president Fernando Gomes subsequently claimed that “the only concrete proposal” was made to Martinez.

“What interested me from the first hour was defining the profile,” Gomes said.

“We spoke, within this, with many people. The only concrete proposal we made to be a coach, was Roberto Martínez.”

Mourinho has not taken too kindly to these comments as he has argued that he was “the only choice” for the job.

“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.”

Martinez has previously insisted that he is “delighted” to be Portugal’s new manager.

“I’m very happy to be here, I’m delighted to be able to represent one of the most talented teams in the world,” Martinez told reporters.

“From the first time I met the board and the president, I knew that this was the project I wanted. I understand that there are high expectations and goals, but I also understand that there is a large group of people working to meet our goals.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo, he added: “Decisions have to be made on the pitch. I’m not a coach who makes hasty decisions. I want to meet everyone, and starting today, I want to talk and get to know all the players.

“Cristiano is part of that list, he spent 19 years with the national team and deserves respect, let’s talk. From there, it’s up to me to make the best list for the European Championship. Tomorrow we’ll start working, getting to know all the players, and Cristiano is one of them.”

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