Reports - Portugal coach Fernando Santos to step down from role after 2022 FIFA World Cup exit

Fernando Santos is expected to leave his role as Portugal’s manager after their disappointing 2022 FIFA World Cup exit, as per A Bola (h/t CabineSport).

The Selecao started their campaign in Qatar with a 3-2 win against Ghana before drawing 0-0 against Uruguay. A 1-0 loss against South Korea was inconsequential as they progressed to the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup.

They beat Switzerland 6-1, setting up an arguably favorable quarter-final tie against Morocco. But they lost 1-0 after a first-half goal from Youssef En-Nesyri.

Former Portugal winger Luis Figo blamed Santos for the defeat and questioned him for benching the five-time Ballon d’Or winner against Morocco. He came on in the 51st minute but had no meaningful impact on the match.

The Portuguese football federation reportedly wants a change in the cycle and could appoint a new manager in the near future. Santos replaced Paulo Bento as Portugal’s manager in September 2014, after the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Since then, he has cemented his status as the national team’s most accomplished manager. He led them to their first-ever major trophy win in 2016 when they won the UEFA European Championship.

They lifted the UEFA Nations League trophy in the 2018-19 campaign but lost 1-0 to Belgium in the round of 16 at the UEFA Euro 2022. He has managed a plethora of clubs in his career, including AEK Athens, FC Porto, Sporting CP, and Estoril.

Before replacing Bento, he managed Greece between 2010 and 2014.

Portugal boss reveals Cristiano Ronaldo was unhappy with being benched in FIFA World Cup last 16

Santos revealed in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Morocco in the FIFA World Cup that Ronaldo was unhappy about not starting against Switzerland.

He said (h/t Marca):

“When a player is captain of Portugal and he starts on the bench. It’s normal that he’s not happy. When I told him he wasn’t going to start he asked me if it was a good idea. Of course, he wasn’t happy. But I can assure you he never wanted to leave the training camp.”

Despite Ronaldo’s unhappiness, Santos left Portugal’s No. 7 on the bench yet again. Goncalo Ramos, who scored a hat-trick in the win against the Schweizer Nati, started against the North African country.

The debate around Santos’ decision to leave the former Manchester United forward out of the starting XI in the knockout rounds will continue to rage for a while. But in the time that Ronaldo did feature in Qatar, he barely gave Santos any reason to keep starting him.

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