Roberto Martinez looking for a job in club football after tearful resignation in Belgium dressing room

Roberto Martinez-Mike Hewitt/Getty

Roberto Martinez will pursue options in club management after tearful scenes in Belgium’s dressing room as he resigned following the nation’s World Cup exit.

Martinez had privately decided before the tournament that he was leaving, and his departure seemed inevitable after a disastrous group stage campaign. Belgium were eliminated in a goalless draw with Croatia after substitute Romelu Lukaku missed a string of golden-edge chances in the second half.

“That was my last game for the national team and it was as emotional as you can imagine,” Martinez confirmed in the post-match press conference.

The former Everton manager, who led the so-called ‘golden generation’ to third place at the 2018 World Cup, is now open to offers from the Premier League.

Telegraph Sport revealed earlier this year how he had been approached about a return to Goodison Park but talks stalled as he wanted to take on the role in a jobshare to ensure he remains in charge of Belgium in Qatar. However, he is now stepping down from his role as technical director and head coach with immediate effect.

“My situation is very clear,” Martinez said. “That was the end whatever happened. If we were world champions or eliminated in the group stage. That was the end right now and it has nothing to do with elimination in the group stage.”

Belgium, number two in the Fifa world rankings, had failed to impress in their opening two group games – a 1-0 win against Canada and a 2-0 defeat against Morocco – and their last game arrest marked the end of an era.

There would have been tears from several players in a locker room that has repeatedly denied rumors of a split in the team in recent days.

Toby Alderweireld, the former Tottenham defender, has confirmed that he is one of a group of players over 30 who were thinking about their international future. “Of course, it’s not every year that there’s a tournament,” he said. “We’ll see what everyone is doing, but I think it’s too close to the last match to decide. I think now everyone goes home, goes to their club and has time to decide what they will do. Of course, this hurts, it’s normal, but decisions are not made after the game.”

Martinez, however, defended his team against allegations that the team fell short of expectations. “We finished with a bronze medal [at the last World Cup] and I wanted to give it another go,” he added. “We’ve built an incredible legacy. I know people only see legacy as winning something.”

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