Portugal confirm Fernando Santos exit after World Cup campaign that was overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo drama

Fernando Santos Portugal World Cup exit
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Fernando Santos has officially been sacked as Portugal coach after he failed to lead his country past the the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
  • Won Euro 2016
  • Struggled at Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022
  • Cristiano Ronaldo drama overshadowed Qatar campaign

WHAT HAPPENED? After eight years in charge and victory at Euro 2016, the 68-year-old has now left the job. He failed to repeat the success of his early tenure in Qatar and saw Portugal crash out to Morocco in the quarter-final after weeks of dealing with drama surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo. Santos benched Ronaldo mid-way through the tournament but the switch did not spark attacking success against the Atlas Lions.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Santos made the bold call to drop Ronaldo from his starting team after the group stages of the competition. While that plan initially worked – with replacement Goncalo Ramos scoring a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Switzerland – the Selecao lacked a cutting edge in the next round against their African opponent.

Unsurprisingly, after the early World Cup exit, Santos' long-term future immediately came under much doubt. Indeed, even before this confirmed news, GOAL was able to exclusively reveal that Paulo Fonseca is in contention to take over.

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Fernando Santos 2016

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20221206 Fernando Santos Cristiano Ronaldo

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Fernando Santos Portugal 2022

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WHAT NEXT FOR PORTUGAL? Beyond those links to Fonseca, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) may also look to hire Jose Mourinho if the latest rumours are to be believed.