FC Barcelona

Roberto Martinez leaves door open to becoming Barcelona manager

Tom Gott
Roberto Martinez has been tipped to join Barcelona
Roberto Martinez has been tipped to join Barcelona / BSR Agency/Getty Images

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has stressed his commitment to the Red Devils but refused to rule out the possibility of replacing Ronald Koeman as Barcelona manager.

Martinez, who is close with a number of members of the Barcelona board, is high on the wish list of potential replacements for Koeman, who is expected to be given his marching orders over the coming international break if a suitable alternative can be found.

An issue with hiring Martinez is he remains under contract with Belgium until after the 2022 World Cup, and in an interview with Het Laaste Nieuws, he insisted that he is not planning to walk away from his deal early.

"I would love for Belgium to be the first European country to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. That is the challenge after the Nations League final," he said. "But in football, you never know what will happen tomorrow.

"I wake up every morning as Belgium coach until the last day of my contract, but obviously a lot of different things can happen along the way."

However, when pushed on whether he had spoken to his friends at Barcelona about the job, he was adamant that no such negotiations had taken place.

"There has been absolutely nothing, there have been no contacts," he said.

"The basis of my friendship with Jordi [Cruyff, advisor to president Joan Laporta] is that we separate the private from the professional. I have never asked Jordi about my situation at Barcelona. I don't think appointing a new coach is his job anyway."

While Martinez refused to commit either way, another candidate for the role, River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo, was quick to shut down the rumours in a press conference.

"I had doubts over doing this conference because I knew I would have to answer questions I don't want to," Gallardo said (via Marca). "I am focused on the Superclasico [between River and Boca Juniors], and everyone knows that my decision is to fulfil my contract with River.

"I have no reason to be distracted by other things and the thoughts of others. I have a contract and a commitment to River. I want to continue to be connected to what it means to be River's coach and leaving the club has never crossed my mind. What's the point of revealing whether [Barcelona] contacted me or not?

"The only thing I can say is that my goal is to end my contract with River, and then we will see."