Spaniard Roberto Martinez, the Red Devils coach, was elected Coach of the year at the Sports Gala in Brussels on Saturday evening. He became the first foreign coach to win the trophy in Brussels on Saturday evening. The trophy is organised by Sportspresse.be, the Belgian Association of Professional Sports Journalists.
Martinez led the Red Devils to an historic third place during the World Cup in Russia this summer.
“I am thrilled to come and accept the trophy, but I am doing it in the name of everyone involved, the players and staff. This year has been very special. I will never forget the welcome we received on the Grand Place after the World Cup”, says Robert Martinez. He is the third football coach to receive the award, after Marc Wilmots (2013 and 2014) and Hein Vanhaezebrouck (2015).
The Catalan got 344 points, putting him ahead of Philip Mestdagh, the Belgian Cats coach, who got 275 points. The Belgian female basketball team are number four in the world. Martinez also beat Vital Heynen, the Belgian coach of the Polish volley team. They became world champions under his wing. Heynen came third with 246 points.
“This year has been fantastic for Belgian sport”, says Roberto Martinez. “I would like to congratulate the Red Lions on their world title. Vital Heynen has also done a great job with Poland. The success that Red Devils, the Red Lions and other Belgian athletes have had is a great thing. It’s so stimulating to see this desire to win”.