Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard dismisses 'totally false' links to Belgium vacancy

Reports suggested the Frenchman had put his name forward to succeed Roberto Martinez

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Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard has described reports he applied to take charge of the Belgium national team as “totally false”.

The Frenchman, whose contract with Saudi runs through until 2027, had been linked this week with the vacant role following Roberto Martinez’s departure last month immediately after his side’s group-stage exit from the World Cup.

Martinez was this week appointed the manager of the Portugal national team following Fernando Santos' sacking in response to their 2022 World Cup quarter-final exit to Morocco.

On Tuesday, L’Equipe’s Belgium correspondent Sacha Tavolieri reported that, while Thierry Henry had not applied for the job despite being a strong candidate – the former France international served as Martinez’s assistant – that Renard had put his name forward.

However, late on Wednesday, Renard tweeted: “The news suggesting I presented a proposal to coach the Belgium national team is totally false.”

The Frenchman, 54, is hugely popular in Saudi having guided the team to the World Cup in Qatar - they qualified as group winners ahead of Japan and Australia - and then masterminding an opening victory against Argentina, the eventual champions. The win is considered one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history.

In May, Renard signed a new contract with Saudi that runs until the 2027 Asian Cup – which the kingdom is set to host. Saudi, three-time winners, will be among the favourites for the postponed 2023 edition, which takes place in Qatar early next year.

Renard has enjoyed major international success already with Zambia and the Ivory Coast, leading both to Africa Cup of Nations glory.

Updated: January 12, 2023, 7:40 AM