Portugal coach Santos leaves job after World Cup exit


By Reuters, published by Mint and Mint report

Lisbon – Fernando Santos has left his job as Portugal coach after his team lost to Morocco in the World Cup quarter-finals, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said on Thursday (Dec. 15).

The Portuguese suffered a shock 1-0 defeat by Morocco in Qatar on Saturday, after Santos started with the country’s all-time record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo on the substitutes’ bench.

“After one of the best participations ever by the national team in the final stages of the World Cup… FPF and Fernando Santos understand this is the right moment to start a new cycle,” the FPF said in a statement.

Santos, who has been widely criticised for his tactics, became Portugal coach in 2014 and led the country in 109 matches. They won the European Championship in 2016 and Uefa’s inaugural Nations League in 2018-19.

“In addition to the titles won, Fernando Santos became the coach with the most games and most victories,” FPF said.

“It was an honour to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos as the head of the national team.”

FPF said its board would now start the process of selecting a new manager. 

Meanwhile after his unceremonious exit from the football club, Manchester United, Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo is training again at the grounds of his previous club Real Madrid. 

This came after he left Manchester United last month, after an explosive TV interview where he criticised the club manager Erik ten Hag, and other club administrators.

On Wednesday, Ronaldo trained at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training facility. The training with his previous club came at a time when he is looking for a new club.

The club administrators informed that Ronaldo requested permission to practise in order to preserve his health, and the club was happy to grant him that permission. As per news agency ANI, Ronaldo practised on a different field from where Carlo Ancelotti’s first-team Madrid players were working out.

Ronaldo has nine successful seasons with Real Madrid and has the most goals in the history of the team. The club won two La Liga championships and four Champions Leagues, during his time.

The current edition of the Fifa World Cup didn’t go very well for the football star as Portugal lost to Morocco in the quarter-finals. Ronaldo came as a substitute during the second half of the crucial match, but couldn’t change the results.

Ronaldo, who was instrumental in Portugal’s lone major trophy win, was mostly benched by Fernando Santos in Portugal’s World Cup campaign. This was despite one goal by Ronaldo, a penalty against Ghana.

According to rumours, Ronaldo has got a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr and might join the club in January, although Ronaldo denied this last week.

The 2022 edition of the Fifa World Cup has also reached its last match. France will go against Argentina in a final showdown on Sunday, and the winner will lift the trophy of the Champions.

It will be France’s fourth World Cup final in seven editions and they are hoping to become the first team since Brazil, 60 years ago, to retain the trophy when they take on Argentina at Lusail Stadium.


Top: Santos started with Portugal’s all-time record goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, on the substitutes’ bench against Morocco. Photo: AFP and published by The Straits Times

Insert: The training with his previous club came at a time when Ronaldo is looking for a new club. Photo: Reuters and published by Mint

Front Page: Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos reacts after his team lost the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between Morocco and Portugal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha. Photo: AFP and published by Mint

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