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'History was made' - Man Utd star Fernandes sends message to coach Santos after Portugal exit

11:19 AM GMT 16/12/2022
Bruno Fernandes Portugal Morocco World Cup
Bruno Fernades has sent a heartfelt message to Fernando Santos after the coach left his role as Portugal national team manager.
  • Portugal exit to Morocco at World Cup
  • Santos relieved from role
  • Fernandes sends a message of gratitude to the coach

WHAT HAPPENED? The 68-year-old manager was sacked by the Portuguese FA after his side crashed out to Morocco in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Santos took the bold step of benching Cristiano Ronaldo in the knockout games against Switzerland and Morocco respectively, but the move failed to pay off against the Atlas Lions as Portugal bowed out of the tournament. Man Utd midfielder Fernandes posted a tribute on social media to the outgoing coach and thanked him for 'the moments of glory'.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Many thanks to mister Fernando Santos," Fernandes wrote on Instagram.

"Thank you for the opportunity to represent our country and for the trust in us over the past few years. As a Portuguese, thank you for putting Portugal at the top of Europe and returning confidence and belief to a "small" country that it was possible to be among the "big ones".

"Moments of glory and joy and others of sadness and frustration, but history was made and will forever be marked in the hearts of all Portuguese."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: After eight years in charge and victory at Euro 2016 and the inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League, Santos departs after an underwhelming performance in Qatar.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR PORTUGAL? As revealed by GOAL, Paulo Fonseca is in contention to take over as national team coach. The federation may also look to hire Jose Mourinho if the latest rumours are to be believed.