Roberto Martinez targets ‘beautiful legacy’ after signing new Belgium deal

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Retrieved 20 May 2020, 17:12 IST

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Belgium boss Roberto Martinez

After Roberto Martinez signed a new contract with the nation until 2022, Belgian football aims to create a “beautiful legacy”.

Following his appointment in 2016, a new contract signed on Wednesday will allow him to serve as director of next year’s re-scheduled European Championships and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Spaniard led the Red Devils to the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, when they lost to defending champions France before beating third-placed England to secure their best final.

“I’m very, very happy because it’s a very ambitious project,” Martinez told reporters after announcing his contract.

“Our President, Mehdi Bayat, has created a very efficient environment for us to work and our CEO Peter Basart is taking our situation to a different level of professionalism and direction.

“I have a lot of faith in the players on this team and I’m really excited. I feel like everything is fine to work towards a beautiful legacy in Belgian football.

“My family is very happy about this. We feel like an adopted Belgian family. Everyone in Belgium has welcomed us very much.”

Martinez’s previous contract will expire in Europe after 2020, which was postponed by a year due to the coronavirus epidemic, and many expected him to return to club football at the end of the season.

Asked why he turned down the offer and decided to stay, Martinez, who also serves as the country’s technology director, said: “I trust the players on this team, we have very committed staff and we all know how much the fans love the Red Devils.

“We were all so intense in promoting the qualification for the euro, then pushing back the euro brought about a completely different situation.

“I felt that it was not time to break the relationship, it was time to look forward to a very intense time in international football.

“We’ve got the League of Nations, then we’ve already qualified for the World Cup and then we’ll be able to wait for the Euro.

“There was no time [to go] And I feel that our relationship needs to move forward. “

Basart was delighted to secure Martinez’s services for a long time.

He said: “We have big challenges ahead of the League of Nations, the Euros and the World Cup – we believe that Roberto is the right person in the right place to lead our players to success.

“We are very proud to be able to extend this contract. This beautiful generation is claiming a top manager and that director is Roberto Martinez.”