Belgium boss Marc Wilmots: I rejected Schalke for Euro 2016 test

Belgium boss Marc Wilmots said he turned down an offer from Schalke because he wanted to stay on ahead of the 2016 European Championship.

Wilmots became Belgium boss in 2012, stepping up after having served as assistant to both Dick Advocaat and Georges Leekens, and he has led the country to second in the FIFA World Ranking.

He also led the nation to the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup but, while he has brought about a marked improvement in the team's fortunes, he has come under pressure in his homeland amid suggestions the nation's "Golden Generation" is capable of even more.

He had confirmed last month that he was considering taking the vacancy at Schalke, where he spent time as a player, but the German club subsequently appointed Andre Breitenreiter from relegated Paderborn.

Speaking before Belgium's shock 1-0 defeat to Wales on Friday, he told VRT: "If I'd wanted to be there, I'd be there."

He said he had met with Schalke along with agent Jorge Mendes but decided he wanted to stay on with the national team.

"I do not want to leave the national team. I live for this challenge," he said. "Particularly for the European Championship in 2016, I want to stay on. I've also let the [Belgium] players know today."

Despite his comments, Schalke had suggested that they had preferred Breitenreiter for the position.

Wilmots had said he would discuss his future immediately after Belgium's game with Wales and he was unhappy with the way Schalke had handled the matter.

"To announce such a thing just hours before our crucial Euro 2016 qualifier is incredible and really bad style," Wilmots told kicker magazine.

"One thing must be made clear -- it was Schalke who approached me, even though I'm in charge of a big team here in Belgium.

"It was never me asking Schalke for a job. That's why it's a bad joke when they make it out now that they have turned me down.

"The way everything has gone is not true Schalke style and it really makes you think.''

He also said in the kicker article that he had planned to hold further talks with Schalke.

"We had agreed on purpose that, due to this important international match, we would continue our talks after June 12,'' Wilmots said.

"I was sticking to that. It's true -- we held talks last week, but it was soon clear that it was going to be hard for us to agree on the same concept.

"But because I had to take care of the national team, we put the further talks back."

Kicker had reported on Thursday that Wilmots would not be given the job as he wanted too much power.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report