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Fernando Santos steps down as Portugal head coach

Fernando Santos has stepped down as head coach of Portugal after eight years in charge following his side’s exit from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Santos was in charge of the European nation for 109 games and won 67. His side scored 226 goals, securing two trophies along the way.

The 68-year-old is the only manager in the nation’s history to win an international tournament. He won the European Championship in 2016 the inaugural Nations League three years later.

However, Portugal entered the World Cup last month as one of the favourites and crashed out against Morocco.

The North Africans are the tournament’s surprise package, and they sent Santos’ side packing in the quarter-final following a 1-0 victory.

Portugal’s best-ever finish at the World Cup remains their 1966 campaign when they finished third.

A statement from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) read: “It was an honour to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos at the head of the national team.

“The FPF thanks Fernando Santos and his technical team for the services provided over eight unique years and believes that these thanks are also made on behalf of the Portuguese people.

“The FPF board will now begin the process of choosing the next national coach.”

Despite the resignation, Santos leaves the job as a national hero. He guided Portgual to their only two titles in history.

Former FC Porto, Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is the favourite for the job.

Mourinho wants the job despite his contract with AS Roma. It would be his first time managing a national team if he is appointed.

The FPF is proposing Mourinho manage both AS Roma and Portugal simultaneously. They must convince the Serie A club to share Mourinho’s time with them.

Another candidate for the job is Lille boss Paulo Fonseca. The 49-year-old is an option for the FPF if they cannot get Mourinho.

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