Official: Portugal part ways with Fernando Santos – Mourinho’s favorite

The special favourite?

The Portuguese (Site notre blog d’information) Association have parted ways with national coach Fernando Santos after the disappointing World Cup quarter-finals in Qatar. The two sides had agreed on this, Portuguese newspaper ‘A Bola’ initially reported and FPF confirmed two days later on Thursday evening. As a possible successor candidate, the newspaper has brought into play a quartet around José Mourinho.

Santos took over the team around captain Cristiano Ronaldo from predecessor Paulo Bento in 2014 and led to the European Championship title in 2016 and Nations League triumph in 2019. The 68-year-old coached the  » Seleção » in 109 games so far, which is the highest in the history of the Portuguese national team. The current 3,003-day tenure is only bettered by Cândido de Oliveira, who served on the sidelines between 1935 and 1945. After the 0-1 draw with Morocco in the quarter-finals, Santos announced he wanted talk to the association about its future. He had ruled out resigning. It’s « not part of our vocabulary, » the trainer said. His contract runs until 2024.

The federation’s website states: « After one of the best performances by the national team in the final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the FPF and Fernando Santos are aware that this is the right time to start a new cycle. (…) It was an honor to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos at the helm of the national team. The FPF would like to thank Fernando Santos and his technical team for the services rendered during eight unique years and believes that thanks are also expressed on behalf of the Portuguese people.The FPF Board of Directors will now begin the process of selecting the next national team coach.

Leão, Mendes & Co.: The most valuable Portuguese

11 Reuben Neves | Wolverhampton | Market value: 40 million euros

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As of December 1, 2022

9 Matheus Nunes | Wolverhampton | Market value: 45 million euros

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9 Vitinha | Paris Saint Germain | Market value: 45 million euros

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8 João Felix | Atletico Madrid | Market value: 50 million euros

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7 Diogo Iota | FC Liverpool | Market value: 55 million euros

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6 Nuno Mendes | Paris Saint Germain | Market value: 60 million euros

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5 João Cancelo | City of Manchester | Market value: 70 million euros

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3 Rubén Dias | City of Manchester | Market value: 75 million euros

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3 Bruno Fernandes | United | Market value: 75 million euros

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2 Bernard Silva | City of Manchester | Market value: 80 million euros

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1 Raphael Leao | AC Milan | Market value: 85 million euros

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Portugal: Quartet around José Mourinho candidate for the succession of Santos

Santos faced criticism in his home country, especially after the match against Morocco, when Portugal didn’t do enough of their superiority and were knocked out after an unfortunate goal against the supposed underdog. The coach was also at the center of his relationship with Ronaldo. After weak performances in the preliminary round, he had twice benched his superstar early in the knockout stage. After losing the World Cup, Santos said he has no regrets. Today, after more than eight years in power, his mandate is coming to an end. Marcel de Almeida, Area Manager Portugal at (Site notre blog d’information), says: « It’s time for change, new ideas and new momentum. Portugal will always be grateful to Fernando Santos for the two titles, but now is the time to prepare for Euro 2024 with another coach. »

In Portugal, there has been speculation for days about icon coach Mourinho as a possible Santos successor. The 59-year-old Portuguese has been with AS Roma since 2021, with whom he celebrated the UEFA Europa Conference League title in his debut season. Mourinho, who previously worked exclusively at club level, is under contract in the Italian capital until 2024. According to ‘A Bola’, The Special One are the association’s favourites, but an agreement must be reached with Roma on a dual role. The not always reliable « Corriere dello Sport » wrote something similar in Italy.

Other candidates named by ‘A Bola’ were national U21 coach Rui Jorge, former non-club Wolverhampton manager Bruno Lage or Fenerbahce’s Jorge Jesus. Portuguese expert de Almeida would like ‘a younger and more modern coach’ like Abel Ferreira from Palmeiras or Bruno Lage for the national team. “Both come from the emotional side and can convince the players and get the most out of it,” he says.

The first version of the article was published on December 13 and was updated after confirmation by the Portuguese association

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