- Martinez replaced Santos as Portugal boss after WC
- Ronaldo welcomed it as a positive change
- Fernandes claimed things were always good
WHAT HAPPENED? The Spanish manager was drafted in to replace Fernando Santos after Portugal's disappointing showing at the 2022 World Cup, with Ronaldo reduced to a bench role as the Seleccao crashed out in the quarter-finals. Martinez assured the 38-year-old, who now plies his club trade at Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, that he remains a leader in the squad ahead of Portugal's first set of Euro 2024 qualifiers. Ronaldo also hailed the impact of the new boss, telling reporters: "It’s a new chapter for everyone, for the players, the staff and the country. We feel good energy. It’s a breath of fresh air."
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WHAT THEY SAID: However, Fernandes has played down Martinez's effect, insisting that the atmosphere "has always been good" in the Portugal camp. Asked if he agrees with Ronaldo's assessment, the Manchester United star told Portuguese TV channel RTP3: "No, it's just a new coach with new ideas. There is no breath of fresh air at all. It's just a transition period. The atmosphere in the national team has always been good. There's never been anything that wasn't fresh of the air, so I think it's just new dynamics, new coach, and you have to assimilate his ideas."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martinez has got off to a flying start in his new job, with Portugal recording a 4-0 win against Liechtenstein before thrashing Luxembourg 6-0. Ronaldo scored two goals in each game, including a sublime free-kick against Liechtenstein, taking his overall tally of international goals to 122.
IN THREE PHOTOS:GettyGettyGetty
WHAT NEXT FOR FERNANDES & RONALDO? Fernandes will return to action with Manchester United against Newcastle United on Sunday, while Ronaldo will enjoy a longer break until next Tuesday when Al-Nassr are slated to face Al-Adalah.