Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez has certainly enjoyed an unorthodox route to the World Cup semi-final.
From managing Swansea, to Wigan Athletic, to his time at Everton, Martinez’s first foray into international management raised many eyebrows.
The Spaniard divides opinion like none other. His time at Goodison Park was nothing if not controversial, filled with an encouraging first season followed by two bottom-half finishes that ultimately cost him his job.
However, the debate still rages on among Toffees supporters on whether the club was wrong to sack Martinez in 2016, while there was cup success interspersed with league struggles.
As Martinez steered his Belgian side into the final four of the World Cup, beating Brazil in the process, many observers on social media let loose with their opinions of the enigmatic Martinez.
From League One to leading one of the world’s most talented countries into the World Cup – it is no easy feat. On Twitter, many supporters, especially Evertonians, were left scratching their heads at their former manager’s international success.
One astute observer recounted that under Martinez’s watch, the Toffees finished outside the Premier League’s top ten two times– the only times it had happened in the past 12 years.
Everton have only finished outside the top ten of the Premier league twice since 2006, both seasons Roberto Martinez was in charge.
— Gareth Jones (@photogareth) July 6, 2018
No matter how well the Spaniard does at Belgium, there will always be those who are reminded of a couple of a disappointing seasons at Goodison Park.
Nope. 1 great season, followed by two of the worst. Any manager could take that Belgium squad to WC final.
— KGBOO (@KGBOO1) July 7, 2018
He had a decent squad with us at the time and he couldn't hold onto a lead to save his life, he's not a premier league manager
— Marty (@_Up_TheToffees) July 7, 2018
The 'Roberto Martinez issue' clearly divides Evertonians (like so many other things). I have been blocked by one blue because I dare to actually like the man, even though I agree he had to be sacked. Why do things have to be black or white for some? 1/2
— Trevor Edwards (@blackrodblue) July 7, 2018
Some claimed Belgium’s success could be attributed more to their excellent squad than Martinez’s management.
Roberto Martinez: A complete gentleman..At first I loved him then his last 2 years at EFC were a disgrace and the records prove that..So don’t kid yourself he’s a good manager now he’s in a WC SF with the best squad in the tournament who have some of the worlds best players ??
— Katie Carter (@1878carter) July 7, 2018
His meteoric rise was also remarked upon, from floundering at the bottom half of the Premier League to the heights of the World Cup last four.
Imagine winning the FA Cup with the same team you got relegated, then taking Everton to 5th before being sacked for being 11th in league the same year you go to FA Cup Semis, then somehow getting the Belgium job and going to World Cup Semi.
The enigma that is Roberto Martinez.
— Gyorgi (@TweetGyorgi) July 6, 2018
Imagine if Roberto Martinez goes from getting relegated with Wigan and then being sacked by Everton to become a World Cup-winning manager. ?
— Jamie (@jamiecurrie89) July 8, 2018
And Sunderland supporters, who were grasping at straws to find any positive connections to the World Cup, finally struck gold with a piece of Martinez’s recent history.
What’s that you ask?……
The last team to beat a Roberto Martínez team?…
In a competitive match you say?
It is…. of course….@SunderlandAFC
— simon crabtree (@Crabbers) July 6, 2018