LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Bruno Fernandes has rubbished Cristiano Ronaldo’s claim that Roberto Martinez’s arrival has been a “breath of fresh air” for Portugal.
The Spanish manager got shortlisted to replace Fernando Santos after Portugal’s disappointment shown at the 2022 World Cup, with Ronaldo reduced to a bench role as the Selecao crashed out in the quarter-finals.
Martinez has thereafter 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 praised the contribution 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.”
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.”
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 netted two goals in each game, including a superb free-kick against Liechtenstein, taking his overall tally of international goals to 122.
Fernandes will be back in action with Manchester United against Newcastle United on Sunday, while Ronaldo will enjoy a longer break until next Tuesday for the Al-Nassr and Al-Adalah face off.