It was the worst-kept secret in Portuguese football.
Fernando Santos is no longer head coach of the Seleção.
Ever since Portugal were knocked out of World Cup 2022 in the quarter-finals by Morocco on Saturday, rumours have been rampant that Santos would leave his post, despite having a contract until 2024.
Today the Portuguese Football Federation made the separation official, with the following announcement:
Translation of the official announcement
The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and Fernando Santos have agreed to terminate the hugely successful journey that began in September 2014.
After one of the best performances in Portugal’s World Cup history in Qatar, the FPF and Fernando Santos agreed that this is the right time to start a new cycle.
With Fernando Santos at the helm of the national team, our country won two international competitions for the first time: the unforgettable Euro 2016, in France, and the Nations League, in 2019.
As well as the trophies won, Fernando Santos became the Portugal coach with the most games played and the most victories.
It was an honour to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos leading the national team.
The FPF thanks Fernando Santos and his coaching staff for their work over eight unparalleled years and believes that this gratitude is shared by the Portuguese people.
The FPF Management will now start the process of choosing the next national team manager.
[to read the original in Portuguese click here]
Although Santos did not see out his final contract until the end, he is by far the most successful coach in the country’s history, and will forever be remembered as the man who brought the football-obsessed nation its first major trophy with the European Championship victory in 2016, in addition to winning the inaugural Nations League competition.
It is therefore unsurprising that the overwhelming sentiment in Portugal regarding Santos’s departure from the job has been one of gratitude, although fans and analysts almost unanimously agreed it was the right thing to do.
Pepe was one of the first players to react, saying on Instagram: “Thank you Mister Fernando Santos! Thank you for your work, your leadership, your commitment... Thank you for serving Portuguese football and Portugal in a brilliant way. Your name will be a landmark in the History of Portuguese Football.”
As well as the above-translated message, the FPF also released a video simply entitled “Obrigado Fernando Santos”.
Later in the evening, the FPF also carried a message recorded by Fernando Santos himself. The 68-year-old said he leaves “with an enormous feeling of gratitude” explaining it had been “a huge privilege and honour” to coach the national team.
Santos went on to thank all the players, FPF staff and Portugal fans. “From today onwards I will be one more among so many million who will vibrantly support the Seleção, wherever I am.”
by Tom Kundert