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Fernando Santos
Gender Male
Ethnic Portuguese
Job Portuguese Football Coach
  Portugal Head Coach
Desc Having upset the odds to win Euro 2016, Portugal won nine out of ten matches in qualifying to stake their claim. The last tournament success was largely built upon a well-drilled back four and providing service for the difference-maker Cristiano Ronaldo


Club as Coach Portugal National Team


Friend Jorge Rosario

2017 01 28 Retrieve

[Portugal manager, Fernando Santos, was gracious in defeat, despite the unfortunate circumstances] Their goalkeeper was fantastic. I always defend my players, that is my responsibility, given I chose them to score the penalties.

2018 09 08 Retrieve

[Fernando Santos explains why Cristiano Ronaldo deserves The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2018 award ahead of Luka Modric] The voting in the best of FIFA [Men’s Player] is not mine. I already casted my vote, if it’s up to me, Ronaldo wins and second Modric because that was my vote. I think Modric is a fantastic player, that is why I nominated him as second best player in this new award, but in this vote, I think Ronaldo should be the winner for all that he has done during the season and especially in the [UEFA] Champions League

2019 03 22 Retrieve

[Portugal coach Fernando Santos is adamant Friday’s 0-0 Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Ukraine will give his team more strength for their next outing against Serbia.] The team was good, but did not win. We deserved to win. The players tried, created situations, but we were not able to score.

This result will not result in any kind of blow, it will give us more strength for the game with Serbia. The players will rest and recover so we can win. Overall the team was well. We didn’t win, so you can never say that everything is fine, but we had good periods

Essentially, we failed to capitalise on the situations that we were able to create. The result is unfair, it doesn’t leave us satisfied, but we have to win the next games

2019 03 26 Retrieve

[Portugal coach Santos reveals referee apologised to him after overturning penalty against Serbia] He [the referee] invited me to go to the booth to analyse the appeal. We saw and we had no doubts, neither he nor I, and then he apologised for the decision. He had no doubt, but that honesty does not help me.

He gave a penalty… And no one 40 meters away can make the decision it was not, especially when the referee sees it clearly. What will I do with the excuse? At least he called me to analyse.

I saw the two angles. In the first one we have doubts, but not in the second. The assistant was there and I said that it was his fault

2019 05 06 Retrieve

[Santos hails Cristiano Ronaldo after stunning Nations League hat-trick] In terms of adjectives to describe Ronaldo’s game - I’ve used many. I was his coach in 2003 and I could see where he’d go. He’s a genius. There’s genius paintings and sculptures and he’s a football genius

[He’s a genius. There’s genius paintings and sculptures and he’s a football genius] When someone scores three goals, they are the difference maker. It was tough game, it was well played - two sides who are very strong, playing to win. They’re strategically well organised, changing their formation. Their players know what they have to do on the pitch, limiting some of the gaps we’d thought about

2019 06 05 Retrieve

[Portugal head coach Fernando Santos says Joao Felix is ready to make an impression in the Nations League finals] If he wasn’t ready he wouldn’t be called up. Regardless of age we assess capabilities. So, if he was selected and is part of this team and others were left out that is because he is ready to play. He’s been called up for a reason. We need to call up players who can contribute. He has great qualities.

[Santos suggests that a new generation featuring the likes of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix represented an exceptional crop of talent] Since when has Portugal not been able to produce talents? Just look at the last 20 years - we’ve always done it. Portugal has always had many talents. The players are different, but if you want to win you have to make everything compatible. It was always like this. We make of the past something that did not exist. We want to pass on the idea that in the past we had no talent

At the 2004 European Championships there was doubt whether they would play Deco or Rui Costa would play, and we had Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s up to me to have 20 high-quality outfield players and they are all fit to play for the main team

2019 06 05b Retrieve

[Portugal vs Switzerland. Portugal have successfully rallied all their strength for this encounter, and notoriously pragmatic head coach Santos is confident that more success can follow] There is one thing I always say to my players, which is that we are no better than anyone else, but hardly anyone is better than us. We must prove that we have the capacity to play and to win.

We can’t think about the final because if we want to be there, we have to go through Switzerland. We know them well and they’ve changed formation. We have to be prepared for this new style and have to be very careful

2019 06 08 Retrieve

[Santos expects Cristiano Ronaldo to star for Portugal at the 2022 World Cup] I am not surprised at how he has played. I was surprised he was a great player at Sporting when he was 19 and when he went to Manchester United, I lost him. But from that moment I could see his special qualities.

He has proved from that moment that he has special qualities. He has proved himself on and off the pitch and he can continue to play at the top level for another three or four years. He is very fit. He trains to the limit. It is not normal to reach these performances, but I think he will continue for a while. He is the captain. He is a hugely important player. I think he will continue to give people joy at club and international level

2019 06 09 Retrieve

[Van Dijk vs Ronaldo: What happens when the best defender meets the best striker?] The reason that explains how a player can keep up this kind of level at 34 - and I think he will keep going for three or four more years - is that he is a player who has very specific and strong goals. That’s what makes him have a great life in terms of his determination, his physical well-being, he keeps his intensity levels very high and always trains at his limits. His life beside that is also very important. It was always an ambition of his, he always kept it as a purpose. That’s why, although it isn’t very usual, a player can be 34 years of age, scoring 50 goals per season and will continue to do so for a little while longer.

: 2019 07 31 Fernando Santos is also among the 10 nominees that have been shortlisted for Best FIFA Men’s Coach of the year, with Portugal won the inaugral UEFA Nations League earlier this summer

2019 09 06 Retrieve

[Portugal head coach Fernando Santos revealed how shackling Netherlands’ Frenkie de Jong was a key factor in his side’s Nations League final success] De Jong plays normally on the left closer to Bruno Fernandes. [Marten] de Roon played closer to [William] Carvalho. We were aware of the qualities of these midfielders of the Dutch team and De Jong; a great creator with great potential.

We knew that if we curtailed his freedom we would stand to gain. My players’ instructions were to play the ball whenever they had it and to balance our defence by keeping an eye out to curtail the freedom De Jong and [Virgil] van Dijk would have

This is the first edition of this tournament. I am sure this tournament will become a classic. The whole European family plays and to have won the first edition is a joy. It will go down in history

I don’t enjoy talking about myself. My work must be assessed by others, by you journalists, by the fans. What I will take with me from my job is the love I feel when I go about my everyday life

[And Santos felt such a victory on home soil would leave a lasting legacy upon the sport in his nation] It will leave a huge mark on Portuguese football to have played in these Finals. The World Cup did not go as we hoped but this team marks the future. The future is here. If we look back to 2016, most of these brilliant teams are no longer here. This is an ongoing process and it speaks of what Portuguese football is. We don’t have the financial wherewithal to keep them [top players] in Portugal. They are scattered all through Europe, but the future of Portuguese football is secured

2019 09 11 Retrieve

[Ali Daei, move over! Cristiano Ronaldo destined to become international football’s greatest scorer ever] This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world

[With Portugal looking to defend their Euro crown in 2020 and another World Cup on the horizon] He continues to register amazing numbers and I don’t have any doubts that he will continue doing that. I have already said so many times that the team who has Cristiano Ronaldo, whatever team it is, needs to have the right conditions for him to do what he does best - which is score goals

2019 09 11b Retrieve

[Portugal coach Fernando Santos says Cristiano Ronaldo is clearly the world’s best player] This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world. There is no stadium in the world where Ronaldo is not applauded. He is the best in the world.

We went to Paris in my first game, and the hotel in France was just across the street. There were a thousand people at our door. I think it’s strange when he doesn’t score. They say it is ending … Nothing is ending. You have to be careful because it never ends

2019 10 15 Retrieve

[Fernando Santos’s men may now need victories over Lithuania and Luxembourg in their final two matches to hold off third-placed Serbia, but Portugal’s head coach claimed his side were hard done by] We started well with a couple of chances, then they went and scored. We tried to react, but whenever Ukraine went forward we had difficulties. At half-time I tried to rectify things and we improved, but we went into the break with an unfair scoreline - it should have been 2-1 and not 2-0. We played a lot with our hearts and less with our heads. I asked them to play more with their heads [in the second half] and be stronger defensively, while keeping our concentration. Now we have to win our next two games, which are like finals.

2019 11 13 Retrieve

[Portugal manager Fernando Santos echoed Ruben Neves’s thoughts on the captain’s fitness] He’s fine and he’s going to play. [He’s] very motivated. He’s a fantastic professional

2019 11 13b Retrieve

[Persistent questions about Cristiano Ronaldo saw Portugal coach Fernando Santos reach the end of his tether at his pre-match news conference] Everybody wants to talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, everybody wants to give their opinion on Cristiano Ronaldo. Because if this thing [the substitution] was with any other player, nobody would be talking about it. We are only talking about this because it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. There are millions of players out there and it seems that this only happens to him and maybe another two or three players. To nobody else. Cristiano is here, he was called up, he’s fine, he’ll play, I have no doubts about it. So, for me, there’s no issue here

[Santos clearly felt he had made his stance clear, as he replied to the next question on Ronaldo] Cristiano Ronaldo again? No, sorry, sorry. On Cristiano Ronaldo again, I’m talking about Portugal. You are talking to me about Cristiano. Cristiano, no. I won’t talk about Cristiano anymore. For me, the theme of Cristiano Ronaldo ends here

2019 11 14 Retrieve

[Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness was never a doubt for Portugal coach Fernando Santos as the star forward scored a hat-trick in Thursday’s 6-0 victory over Lithuania] He’s fine. I had no doubt about that, as I said before the match. Other people did, but I didn’t have any doubts

What we have is a very motivated Cristiano, who always gives his best. He scored three times, which is normal for him.

What we have is a very motivated Cristiano, who always gives his best. He scored three times, which is normal for him.

[Santos felt his side could have scored more than twice in the first half] The players stuck to the plan. We played very well in the first half, with lots of variety to our game and plenty of control. At the break we could have had more goals. But after scoring the fourth we could afford to rest ready for the next game. We’ll try to beat Luxembourg in the same manner, but we have less than 72 hours to recover so we’ll see

2019 11 15 Retrieve

[Portugal coach Fernando Santos was grilled over Ronaldo’s fitness prior to the match] A lot of people were asking about Cristiano - what I said was that he was able to play, that Cristiano was fine. It [his performance] didn’t surprise me. In fact, I am never surprised by Cristiano, I assure you. So, scoring a hat-trick was perfectly normal

2019 11 17 Retrieve

[Fernando Santos expects Portugal to compete strongly for back-to-back European titles but does not think his defending champions are favourites heading into Euro 2020] We are candidates at the Euros, we never assume as we are favourites. The Portuguese team has quality. When Portugal can gather creativity, quality and artistic notes, and at the same time realise that the game, at certain times, needs other things, [we are] practically unbeatable. It is not easy to beat Portugal, Portugal have all the conditions to be able to make a good European Championship. The status is the same as always. When we went to Euro 2016, they said it was crazy when I said Portugal was a candidate

It was not an exhibition with artistic notes, as it was against Lithuania. Before the game we could not appreciate the situation of the pitch, but we were aware of how it was and the truth is that posed some problems, especially in the circulation of the ball. The players had difficulty getting their foot on the ball. For the first 20 minutes, we couldn’t get the game right and Luxembourg are a team that presses well and are physically strong. From the 25th minute, things got more balanced, we started playing differently and scored the [Fernandes] goal. It was a tougher game than we expected but it showed the character and personality of these players