Portugal’s head coach Fernando Santos has stepped down as the Portugal head coach after their elimination from the World Cup. It comes after Portugal’s shocking 1-0 loss to Morocco in the Qatar Cup quarterfinals. Santos made the risky choice to bench Cristiano Ronaldo after the group stage, leading Portugal to victory at Euro 2016 and the first Nations League in 2018–19. It paid off in the round of 16, as Goncalo Ramos, Ronaldo’s replacement, scored three goals in a 6-1 victory over Switzerland.
Ronaldo came on as a substitute in the quarterfinal match against Morocco but couldn’t save his team’s defeat. Former Manchester United forward Ronaldo denied making any such threat during a chat with his head coach, and Santos came under fire for benching him. Ronaldo, who sobbed at the conclusion of Morocco’s defeat, claimed he had no regrets about the decisions Santos had made concerning him. Santos has a contract that runs through the end of Euro 2024, but the Portuguese Football Federation said that now is the ideal time to begin a new cycle. Now Portugal will select a new head coach, with Jose Mourinho, the Roma manager, being one of the early candidates.
“It was an honor to have a coach and a guy like Fernando Santos at the helm of the national team,” the Portuguese Football Federation said in a statement after Fernando Santos stepped down after the World Cup. “The FPF thanks Fernando Santos and his technical team for their services over eight extraordinary years, and the FPF believes that the Portuguese people share this gratitude. The FPF board will now begin the process of choosing the next national coach.”
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