Witsel backs Martinez for Real Madrid job

By Sports Desk November 08, 2018

Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel understands why Roberto Martinez is being linked with the Real Madrid job but hopes he stays with the World Cup semi-finalists.

The LaLiga giants are searching for a new permanent head coach after Julen Lopetegui was sacked following a 5-1 Clasico thrashing at the hands of Barcelona last month.

Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino are among the other coaches to have been linked with the vacancy, although interim boss Santiago Solari has strengthened his case with two wins from two games.

The Royal Belgian Football Association has said Martinez would not be able to join Madrid without the body's approval.

Witsel believes that while it would be a blow to lose Martinez, who led Belgium to a third-place finish at the World Cup, he can see why the former Everton boss is in the running.

"It is not surprising after all the great work we've done with him the last years and for the last World Cup," Witsel told reporters.

"It is not surprising to see a club like Real Madrid, if the reports are true, to be interested in him.

"No, we didn't call each other to talk about our head coach and Real Madrid. We'll all be together next week.

"As I said, we've done a great job so far and we keep doing it. All the players, we're all happy with the coach and his philosophy. If we lose him it would be a huge loss for all of us.

"If it is really the truth and he was meant to leave, he will be frank with us I think."

Martinez has yet to give any public indication whether he would want the Madrid job but Witsel feels any offer would be difficult for the 45-year-old to reject.

"I do think it would be," Witsel added. "It's like it would be for a player, they're Real Madrid!

"Head coaches are like players now. One day you're here and in six months, a year, two years you don't know.

"I personally hope he'll stay with us. If he leaves it would be his decision and that's it."

Related items

  • Levante report Barcelona for alleged use of ineligible player in Copa del Rey Levante report Barcelona for alleged use of ineligible player in Copa del Rey

    Levante have reported Barcelona to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) over the alleged fielding of an ineligible player in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie.

    The Valencia-based club beat Barca 2-1 at home in the first part of their two-legged clash, as Ernesto Valverde shuffled his pack, giving games to fringe players and youngsters.

    Among the unfamiliar names in the starting XI was defender Chumi, who Levante believed to have been suspended for the match after accumulating five yellow cards for Barca's 'B' team in the third tier.

    A statement on their official Twitter account read: "Levante have presented this morning [Friday] the complaint to the RFEF about the improper alignment of a Barcelona player in the first leg of the last-16 match of the Copa del Rey."

    Barca are convinced Chumi was eligible, with Valverde suggesting the defender's suspension was active for Sunday's win over Eibar, while the club understand a rule change in November allows a reserve player to feature for the first team in another competition as long as the suspension is less than a two-match ban.

    Barca won 3-0 on Thursday to book their passage to the quarter-finals, but Levante are adamant the Catalan club should be kicked out of the competition and have reported them to RFEF.

  • Alcacer is fit and available – Favre Alcacer is fit and available – Favre

    Paco Alcacer is fit to return from injury for Borussia Dortmund's trip to RB Leipzig on Saturday, head coach Lucien Favre said.

    Alcacer, 25, came off in the first half of Dortmund's last competitive match – a win over Borussia Monchengladbach on December 21.

    In a boost for the Bundesliga leaders, Alcacer is available for their first game back from the mid-season break.

    "His injury against Gladbach was a strain. It took some time, that's clear, but now he's fit and he is able to play," Favre told a news conference.

    "Of course he didn't participate in every training session and he didn't play a game for 90 minutes, but he will be there for sure."

    Dortmund hold a six-point lead atop the table after just one loss in 17 league games this season.

    Alcacer has scored 12 goals in as many league matches this campaign, with just five of those starts.

  • Valverde not worried about Levante's Copa appeal Valverde not worried about Levante's Copa appeal

    Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde insisted he is unconcerned over Levante's official complaint regarding their selection of Chumi in the first leg of their Copa del Rey clash.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.