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Real Madrid interest in Martinez complicated by upcoming Belgium promotion – football news

Real Madrid are interested in Roberto Martinez as a potential replacement for Julen Lopetegui, but an upcoming promotion for the Belgium boss could make him difficult to land. 

Lopetegui is under fire as Madrid’s boss, with a run of poor results leaving him on the brink just months after taking over from Zinedine Zidane. 

Real Madrid have confirmed Lopetegui will be in charge for Sunday’s El Clasico showdown with Barcelona, but after that all bets are off. 

Several potential replacements have already been mentioned, including former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, Santiago Solari and Michael Laudrup.

GBP Sports understands that Madrid are also interested in former Everton boss and current Belgium manager Martinez, who led the Red Devils to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup. 

Martinez, however, may be tough to obtain for Madrid due to an upcoming promotion. 

GBP Sports understands that as of November 1, Martinez will take over as Belgium’s technical director in addition to his coaching duties, with current technical director Chris Van Puyvelde set to take on a similar role with the Chinese FA.

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Martinez has given the Belgian FA his word that he will take on the new role, likely making it extra tough for Madrid to land him should they decide to make a move. 

Furthermore, Martinez signed a contract extension with Belgium in May, which will keep him in charge through Euro 2020. 

Though Madrid may have an interest in the Belgium manager, it appears that Martinez’s new double role will make him doubly difficult to pry away from the Red Devils.

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Monaco the natural move for Henry – Martinez – football news

Thierry Henry starting his career as a head coach at Monaco was the “natural move” he had been waiting for, according to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.

Former France and Arsenal star Henry began his playing career at Monaco and was announced as the successor to Leonardo Jardim on Saturday, signing a three-year contract.

The 41-year-old, who oversaw his first training session on Monday, had been working under Martinez with Belgium since August 2016 and the Spaniard backed his former number two to be a success at a club that means so much to him.

On Henry’s departure, Martinez told a news conference: “I don’t think it’s a loss. The initial project was to have Thierry’s experience preparing the group for the World Cup and we achieved that.

“After that it’s been great for Thierry to want to be with the national team until the natural move would appear. It wasn’t a case of leaving for the sake of it or trying to force a move.

“We’re all supportive because Monaco is his home, it’s where he started as a player and it’s a natural way to start his coaching career.

“He will be a top coach, there’s no two doubts about it; his obsession for the game, his experience, his know-how, but then we all hope he gets a bit of luck because you always need luck in football.”

Belgium take on Netherlands in a friendly on Tuesday and Martinez detailed plans to use a variety of players, while also disclosing that Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could start.

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Appointing a replacement for Henry is on the Spaniard’s agenda, something he hopes to have sewn up ahead of the next set of internationals in November.

“I think we need an extra body on the staff. The technical staff is very strong, we’ve been working now for a long time, but it’s important – maybe not for a short camp – but when you’re going into a big tournament that we need that extra body, but we’re going to take our time,” he said.

“It’s more assessing what the group needs – they aren’t the needs that were needed two years ago and we didn’t have the experience that we had in the World Cup. We will be adding someone for November.”

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Quality is Amazing

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Former Celtic star Maloney joins Henry on Martinez’s Belgium coaching staff – football news

Roberto Martinez has drafted former Celtic and Wigan star Shaun Maloney into his coaching staff with the Belgium national team.

The Red Devils were in the market for a new addition following the departure of Graeme Jones.

A man who has worked alongside Martinez throughout his managerial career has returned to club football as deputy to Darren Moore at West Brom.

Jones has been replaced as number two within the Belgium set-up by Thierry Henry.

The Arsenal legend, who linked up with Martinez in August 2016, remains part of the fold after turning down the chance to move into management at Ligue 1 side Bordeaux.

His promotion has allowed Maloney to be brought in by Belgium, with the 35-year-old a man Martinez knows well.

The Spaniard signed the Scot during his time in charge of Wigan, with the pair spending two years together at the DW Stadium.

Maloney, since hanging up his boots in the summer of 2017, has been cutting his coaching teeth within the academy set-up at Celtic.

Martinez is delighted to have welcomed a familiar face on board, telling reporters at the announcement of his squad for upcoming fixtures against Scotland and Iceland: “Graeme Jones did a fantastic job as assistant coach. We wish him all the best.

“We are delighted that Thierry Henry has decided to carry on and stay with the team. He will now work on a full-time basis for Belgium.

“Shaun Maloney is a football player that I worked with. He knows the way we work and is someone who has an exciting coaching career in front of him.”

Belgium are set to face Scotland in an international friendly contest on September 7 before opening their UEFA Nations League campaign against Iceland on September 11.

Martinez added on the challenges which lie ahead for a team which finished third at World Cup 2018: “The Nations League brings a real meaning to the games we will play.

“This is a new and different format that is going to be successful.”

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