Portugal has sacked Coach Fernando Santos following the country’s elimination to Morocco in the quarter-final of the ongoing world cup in Qatar. This was announced by the Portuguese football federation on Thursday.
Santos, 68, was appointed in 2014 and he masterminded and led Portugal to a first-ever senior international title when they beat hosts France after extra time in the final of Euro 2016. The former Greece manager also led his country to UEFA Nations League glory in 2019.
His reign as the coach has however ended after Portugal was knocked out following a surprise 1-0 loss to Morocco. He had a contract that was supposed to run till Euro 2024, but the Portuguese football federation has decided to cut ties with him and thanked him for the successful period he had as a coach in a statement posted on their Twitter account.
In reply, Santos posted a video message saying that becoming the Portugal coach was a dream come true for him and that he is fulfilled to have achieved what he also termed a “life goal”.
Portugal’s campaign was tainted by controversy when Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped by Santos against Switzerland in their round of 16 clashes following the former’s displeasure at being substituted in the group-stage match against South Korea
Santos again dropped Ronaldo on the bench against Morocco before introducing him early in the second half as Portugal was surprisingly knocked out. Afterwards, Santos stood by his decision, insisting he had no regrets.
With his ouster, many names have been bandied about by Portuguese media outlets, including AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho, Lille coach Paulo Fonseca and Portugal U21s coach Rui Jorge.