Fernando Santos stepped down as Portugal manager on Thursday after eight years in charge of the national side..
Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has thanked Fernando Santos after the coach opted to stand down as Portugal manager following their World Cup exit.
Portugal were knocked out of the tournament in Qatar at the quarter-finals stage by Morocco, with the African side securing a 1-0 victory over Santos’ side. The 68-year-old leaves his role after eight years in charge, during which he led the country to European Championship glory in 2016 and the inaugural Nations League title in 2019.
Despite the underwhelming performance in the Middle East, United ace Fernandes – who registered two goals and three assists at the World Cup – made an emotional post on social media, thanking Santos for his efforts during his stint as manager.
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 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.”
In a statement announcing the coach’s departure, the Portuguese Football Federation said: “It was an honour to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos at the head of the national team.
“The FPF [Portuguese Football Federation] 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 will now begin the process of choosing the next national coach.”
Former Reds frontman Cristiano Ronaldo, who was dropped to the bench for the games with Switzerland and Morocco, left the field in tears after the full-time whistle on Saturday.