Fernando Santos set to leave the Portuguese national team after 8 years

(Football news) The Portuguese federation (FPF) confirmed that Fernando Santos has stepped down as coach of Portugal following the team’s 2022 World Cup quarterfinal loss to Morocco. Santos, who recently turned 68, first took charge in 2014 and led Portugal to their first-ever major trophy when they defeated France in the Euro 2016 championship. The team won the 2019 UEFA Nations League title under the former Greece national team manager.

However, a shocking 1-0 loss to Morocco in this year’s World Cup marked the end of his career in Qatar. Although he recently signed a contract till the 2024 European Championship, the Portuguese federation decided to part ways with him. Santos’ controversial decision to bench Portugal’s star player Cristiano Ronaldo from the team’s round of 16 match against Switzerland caused a lot of stir in the media. Santos’ made it clear that Ronaldo was upset after being taken off against South Korea . His replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat trick in a 6-1 victory against Switzerland but Portugal unexpectedly lost to Morocco when Santos started Ronaldo on the bench again. These decisions ultimately took a toll on his job and the federation decided it was time to replace him.

Mourinho is favourite to take over the Portugal job, he has yet to coach at international level but has an impressive record at some of Europe’s heavyweight clubs. He has managed the likes of Porto, Chelsea twice, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United. Mourinho won three Premier League titles with Chelsea, two Serie A title with Inter and a Liga triumph at Real. He also coached Porto to 2004 Champions League and repeated the feat with Inter Milan in 2010. In May he led Roma to the Europa Conference League title and became the first manager to have won all three major European trophies. Mourinho’s contract at Roma runs until 2024 and it will be interesting how FPF go about this situation.

“The Portuguese Football Federation and Fernando Santos agreed to end the highly successful journey that began in September 2014. The FPF Board will now begin the process of choosing the next national coach. After one of the best participations ever by the National Team in the final stages of the World Cup, in Qatar, FPF and Fernando Santos understand that this is the right time to start a new cycle,” ESPN quoted as read in a statement from the FPF.

In an emotional video message, Santos said that being Portugal’s coach was a dream come true and a life goal he fulfilled. “When you lead groups, you have to make some difficult decisions. It’s normal that not everyone was happy with the choices I made but the decisions I made were always thinking about what would be best for our team,” added the coach.

“I don’t think so, no regrets. If we take two people that were the most upset it is Cristiano Ronaldo and me. Of course, we are upset, but that is part of the job of the coach and the player. I think this was a team which played very well against Switzerland. Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player, he came in when we thought it was necessary, so no regrets,” expressed Santos

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