A Portuguese newspaper has claimed that the former Ocean Club worker may have snatched the youngster in revenge after being fired.
Correio da Manha reported that police have identified the man as their main suspect after tests on his mobile phone showed he was around the McCann's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007, the day Maddie disappeared .
The unnamed suspect was also living in a flat in the town of Lagos, around a 15-minute drive from the McCann's resort. However, he died in a tractor accident in 2009. Detectives have reportedly quizzed his widow about their suspicions and are thought to be searching for Madeleine's body in the belief he may have killed her.
The newspaper described the circumstances surrounding the man's sacking from the Ocean Club as "fractious". The article went on: "The motives that could have caused the ex-employee to kidnap the youngster are still being investigated." The man was not among the list of employees handed over to police during the initial investigation because at the time of Madeleine's disappearance he was not working there, the newspaper adds.
The news comes after Portugal's Attorney General gave the go-ahead for the investigation to be reopened at the request of the country's Policia Judiciaria police force.