Who will be the next manager of the Portugal national team?

The Portuguese national team parted ways with head coach Fernando Santos in mid-December after an eight-year reign. The lengthy spell that has elapsed without a successor being named has fuelled the rumour mill surrounding the main choices and options open to the FPF.

In fact there have also been so many different rumours about who is going to take on this position that bookmakers and sportsbooks have worked hard on providing different odds for the nominees. This is exemplified by online betting in Portugal shifting toward predicting who is going to be the new manager of Portugal’s national team. 

Let’s see who the contenders are for the position and who have the best chances of being appointed. 

José Mourinho

Since the departure of Fernando Santos was made official, the Portuguese Football Federation is thought to have targeted José Mourinho as its top priority to become the new Seleção coach.

The most successful Portuguese club manager in football history is currently Roma’s head coach. However, Mourinho has not expressed interest at least for now with all the duties and responsibilities at hand, not to mention the fact the Italian club do not appear in any rush to release him.

His contract with Roma runs until 2024 which practically means that his period as the manager of the club ends in the summer of the next European Championship tournament. Portuguese football analysts are sure Mourinho will manage the national team one day, but hiring José ahead of the 2026 World Cup cycle would appear a more viable scenario for the FPF. 

Jorge Jesus

The current manager of Fenerbahce, Jorge Jesus, is also among the list of possible picks for the succession of Fernando Santos.  He is also under an active contract with the Turkish football club, but the FPF seems keen on him. 

Despite his considerable success as Portugal coach, Santos endured increasing criticism over his tenure for overly defensive and/or reactive football. Jorge Jesus has a reputation for getting his teams playing an attacking brand of the game, so that makes him an interesting candidate for the FPF.

Related: The Seleção podcast - CR7 ca$hes in (or out), obrigado “Mister” and Adeus Pele 

Paulo Fonseca

Paulo Fonseca is another name that has been mentioned as a viable contender for the position. He is very highly thought of in the world game having impressed in several countries, most notably in Portugal with Paços de Ferreira, Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk and Italy with Roma, as well as settling well at his current club, Lille, who are handily placed in sixth in Ligue 1. 

Much like Jorge Jesus, Paulo Fonseca has a style that is totally different from that of Fernando Santos and this is something that is expected to please people, as a break away from the very conservative approach adopted by Santos. 

Rui Jorge

Rui Jorge has emerged as a strong candidate for the vacant position of the manager of Portugal’s national team. The 49-year-old has been the manager of the under 21 team for over a decade, doing a very good job at readying players for the jump up to the senior team.

As a long-term employee of the FPF, Jorge would be an internal recruitment who knows the workings of the Federation inside-out and who has worked closely with the vast majority of Portugal’s players at the start of their international careers. 

Andre Villas-Boas 

Andre Villas-Boas is a viable option for the Portugal National team. He has shown interest in the past of taking on this position.

As mentioned above with some of the other candidates, AVB’s style as a front-foot attack-minded coach – especially notable during his brilliant spell at FC Porto – will signify a big break from the recent past with Santos, very possibly re-energising the players and leading to positive results for the Seleção.