Roberto Martinez will pursue options in club management after tearful scenes in the Belgium dressing room as he stood down following the nation's World Cup exit.
Martinez had privately decided before the tournament that he would leave, and his departure appeared inevitable after a disastrous group stage campaign. Belgium bowed out in a goalless draw with Croatia after substitute Romelu Lukaku missed a host of gilt-edged chances in the second half.
"That was my last game with the national team and it was emotional as you can imagine," Martinez then confirmed at his post-match press conference.
The former Everton manager, who had guided the so-called ‘golden generation’ to a third-placed finish 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 for a return to Goodison Park, but talks broke down as he wanted to take on the role in a job share to ensure he remained in charge of Belgium in Qatar. However, he now leaves 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 had been world champions or been out in the group phases. It was the end at this time and has nothing to do with being eliminated at the group stage."
Belgium, number two in Fifa's world rankings, had failed to impress in their opening two group games – a 1-0 win against Canada and a 2-0 defeat to Morocco – and their latest setback marked the end of an era.
There were understood to be tears from several players in a changing room which has repeatedly denied rumours of squad rift in recent days.
Toby Alderweireld, the former Tottenham defender, confirmed he was one of a host of plus-30 year old players who had some thinking to do about their international futures. "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 game to decide. I think everyone goes home now, goes to their club and has time to decide what they're going to do. Of course this hurts, it's normal, but decisions are not made after the game."
Martinez, however, defended his squad from allegations that the team has not lived up to expectations. "We finished with a bronze medal [at the last World Cup] and wanted to give it another go," he added. "We have built an incredible legacy. I know people only see legacy as winning something."