Jose Mourinho RomaGetty

'I was the only choice' - Mourinho reveals he rejected Portugal job offer after Martinez claim

  • Santos left after 2022 World Cup
  • Job-share speculated on for Roma boss
  • Ex-Belgium coach appointed

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.”

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Jose Mourinho RomaGetty

Roberto Martinez Belgium 2022Getty Images

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.