Roberto Martinez targets 'beautiful legacy' after signing new Belgium deal

By Sports Desk May 20, 2020

Roberto Martinez is targeting the creation of a "beautiful legacy" for football in Belgium after signing a new contract with the nation until 2022.

Having been appointed in 2016, the new deal signed on Wednesday will see him remain as manager for next year's rescheduled European Championship and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Spaniard led the Red Devils to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018, when they were beaten by eventual champions France before defeating England in the third-place play-off to secure their best-ever finish.

"I am very, very happy because it is a very ambitious project," Martinez told reporters after his contract was announced.

"Our president, Mehdi Bayat, has created a very efficient environment for us to work and our CEO, Peter Bossaert, is taking our situation into a different level of professionalism and direction.

"I also believe immensely in this group of players and I am really excited. I feel that everything is in place to work towards a beautiful legacy for Belgian football.

"My family is very happy about this, we feel like an adopted Belgian family. Everyone in Belgium has made us feel very welcome."

Martinez's previous deal was set to expire after Euro 2020, which was postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and many expected him to return to club football at the end of the season.

Asked about why he reportedly turned down offers and opted to stay, Martinez, who also serves as the country's technical director, said: "I do believe in this group of players, we have a very committed staff and we all know how much the fans love the Red Devils.

"We were all so intense with the qualification campaign for the Euros, then the postponement of the Euros brings about a completely different situation.

"I felt it wasn't time to break that relationship, it is time now to look forward to a very intense period in international football.

"We have got the Nations League, then already the qualification campaign for the World Cup and then we'll be able to look forward to the Euros.

"It wasn't the time [to go] and I do feel our relationship needs to go further."

Bossaert was delighted to secure the services of Martinez for a longer period.

He said: "We have big challenges coming up with the Nations League, Euros and the World Cup - we believe that Roberto is the right man in the right place to guide our players to success.

"We are very proud to extend the contract. This beautiful generation deserves a top manager and that manager is Roberto Martinez."

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