Football NewsCristiano Ronaldo Reacts to Portugal’s Manager Sacking
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Fernando Santos had a contract extension until the end of Euro 2024, but after a disappointing World Cup campaign, it has been announced that he will step down now.

The writing was on the wall for Fernando Santos as soon as Morocco ended Portugal’s World Cup dream.

The Portuguese Football Federation confirmed Santos departure less than a week after the defeat at The Al Thumama Stadium. “It was an honor to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos at the helm of the National Team,” the National Team read.

“The FPF thanks Fernando Santos and his technical team for the services provided over eight unique years and believes that this thanks is also made on behalf of the Portuguese people. The FPF Board of Directors will now begin the process of selecting the next national coach.”

While his time in charge of the national team ended in disappointment in Qatar, Santos’ legacy will be felt for years to come.

Portugal has had their most successful period in their rich footballing history since taking over in 2014. The Selecao won the European Championships in 2016 and the inaugural UEFA Nations League three years later under his astute leadership.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the great and good of Portuguese football have rushed to pay tribute to the departing manager. “Thank you very much, Mr. Fernando Santos!” Pepe made a social media post.

“I appreciate your efforts, leadership, and dedication. For all the joys and triumphs over the years. Thank you for your excellent service to Portuguese soccer and Portugal.”

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes also expressed gratitude to mister Fernando Santos. “Thank you for the opportunity to represent our country and for your faith in us over the last few years,” he wrote on social media.

“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’.

“There were moments of glory and joy, as well as moments of sadness and frustration, but history was made and will live on in the hearts of all Portuguese.”

But, of all the tributes, the one that hasn’t been forthcoming is perhaps the most telling. The image of Cristiano Ronaldo on the Stade de France touchline with Santos remains a watershed moment in Portuguese football history.

The double act that finally got the Selecao over the line in a major tournament returned to Lisbon with the trophy in hand.

However, the couple’s relationship was significantly more strained five years later. Santos publicly chastised his players’ reactions to being substituted against South Korea, but this was only the beginning of the controversy.

The decision to leave Ronaldo out of the starting lineup for their knockout matches sparked heated debate around the world. That bold selection decision was immediately vindicated in the last-16 against Switzerland, with stand-in Goncalo Ramos scoring a stunning hat-trick.

However, against Morocco, Santos was forced to rely on the 37-year-old, as the forward was unable to perform one last rescue act.

Following his benching, there was speculation that the player and manager had a strained relationship, with Ronaldo threatening to leave the camp, though he strongly denied ever intending to leave his country.

However, actions speak louder than words – or, in this case, the lack thereof. While his countrymen have taken to social media, Ronaldo has remained silent. The world’s most visible free agent has 517 million Instagram followers and regularly updates his account.

In this case, however, radio silence. Ronaldo stated that his sole focus would be on finding a new club once his commitments with Portugal were completed, but the silence now speaks volumes.