Fernando Santos (Portuguese footballer)

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Fernando Santos
Fernando Santos 2018 (cropped).jpg
Santos as Portugal manager at the 2018 World Cup
Personal information
Full name Fernando Manuel Fernandes da Costa Santos
Date of birth (1954-10-10) 10 October 1954 (age 64)
Place of birth Lisbon, Portugal
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Portugal (manager)
Youth career
1970–1971 Operário Lisboa
1971–1973 Benfica
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1979 Estoril 91 (2)
1979–1980 Marítimo 26 (0)
1980–1987 Estoril 65 (1)
Total 182 (3)
Teams managed
1987–1988 Estoril (assistant)
1988–1994 Estoril
1994–1998 Estrela Amadora
1998–2001 Porto
2001–2002 AEK Athens
2002 Panathinaikos
2003–2004 Sporting CP
2004–2006 AEK Athens
2006–2007 Benfica
2007–2010 PAOK
2010–2014 Greece
2014– Portugal
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Fernando Manuel Fernandes da Costa Santos ComM (born 10 October 1954) is a Portuguese retired footballer who played as a defender, and is the manager of the Portugal national team.

He amassed Primeira Liga totals of 161 games and two goals during eight seasons, almost always with Estoril. After retiring, he worked as a coach for several decades, starting out at his main club in 1988.

Santos managed Portugal's Big Three, winning five major titles with Porto. For the better part of the 2000s he worked in Greece, mainly with AEK Athens and PAOK.

In 2010, he was appointed at the helm of the Greek national team, coaching them in a World Cup and one European Championship. Subsequently, he led Portugal to victory in Euro 2016.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Lisbon, Santos finished his formation with S.L. Benfica, having joined its youth system at the age of 16. His senior debuts were made with G.D. Estoril Praia, which he went on to represent in all three major levels of Portuguese football.[1]

Santos made his Primeira Liga debut on 7 September 1975, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 home win against S.C. Farense. He finished his first season with a further 12 appearances, helping his team to the eighth position.[2]

Santos scored his first goals in the top division in the 1978–79 campaign, only missing one league game in an eventual 11th-place finish.[3] For 1979–80, he moved to fellow league team C.S. Marítimo, where he also first-choice;[4] having returned to his previous club, he played with them a further eight years (five being spent in the Segunda Liga) before retiring at the age of 33.

Coaching career[edit]

Estoril and Porto[edit]

Santos started working as a manager immediately after retiring. He helped Estoril return to the top level in 1991 and, in the following ten years, only worked in that competition, being in charge of C.F. Estrela da Amadora and FC Porto.

Having signed for the latter side in summer 1998, Santos won the national championship and the Portuguese Supercup in his first season. He finished second in the following to Sporting CP, and led the team to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.[5]

Greece and Sporting[edit]

In 2001, Santos was appointed at AEK Athens F.C. in the Superleague Greece, winning the domestic cup and losing the league to Olympiacos F.C. on goal difference.[6] Staying in the country, he then joined Panathinaikos FC,[7] leaving by mutual consent after only four months.[8]

Santos returned to his country for the 2003–04 campaign, replacing László Bölöni at the helm of Sporting.[9] He was relieved of his duties on 2 June 2004, after his team was only able to rank third.[10]

From 2004 to 2006, Santos managed former club AEK:[11] he led them to consecutive top-three finishes during his tenure, being voted Manager of the Year in the former season.


On 20 May 2006, Santos joined former youth club Benfica.[12] He was responsible for the signing of former AEK player Kostas Katsouranis the following month.[13]

After a third place in his debut season, only two points behind champions Porto, Santos witnessed the departure of captain and top scorer Simão Sabrosa to Atlético Madrid during pre-season. On 20 August 2007, after a 1–1 away draw against Leixões SC, he was sacked and replaced with José Antonio Camacho.[14]


Santos returned to Greece and its Superleague in early September 2007, signing a three-year contract with PAOK FC.[15] There, he joined forces with director of football – and former international – Theodoros Zagorakis, leading the team to the second position in 2009–10.

On 19 May 2010, despite a chance of competing again in the Champions League, Santos announced his decision of leaving the Thessaloniki-based side in a press conference.[16]

Greece national team[edit]

On 1 July 2010, Santos was named the new coach of the Greece national team, succeeding longtime incumbent Otto Rehhagel on a two-year deal.[17][18] He qualified the country to the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament, subsequently reaching the last-eight stage.[19]

Santos was also in charge during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, as Greece reached the knockout stage for the first time ever. Shortly before the start of the penalty shootout against Costa Rica, eventually lost 3–5, he was sent off by referee Ben Williams for apparent dissent. He watched the decision unfold on a television from inside the stadium, and the defeat marked the end of his tenure as his contract expired the very next day;[20][21] he was initially banned for eight matches for the incident,[22] reduced to six upon appeal.[23]

Portugal national team[edit]

Santos with Portugal at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

On 23 September 2014, Santos was chosen as the new manager of Portugal, after Paulo Bento being fired due to poor results.[24] His first game in charge took place on 14 October in a 1–0 win in Denmark for the Euro 2016 qualifiers,[25] and the side went on to reach the finals in France;[26] during his suspension, it was Ilídio Vale that sat on the bench.[27][28]

On 10 July 2016, after three group stage draws that enabled group stage qualification as third,[29] Santos coached Portugal to its first-ever major international conquest, after a 1–0 extra time defeat of the hosts.[30] The only win in 90 minutes occurred in the semi-finals, against Wales,[31] but his team was also the only undefeated in the tournament. Their win in the Final was memorable for his role alongside the then injured and substituted Cristiano Ronaldo on the touchline, with both simultaneously shouting instructions at the team as they held on to take the win.

On 10 October 2017, the day of his 63rd birthday,[32] Santos coached Portugal to a 2–0 win over Switzerland at the Estádio da Luz, which enabled them to finish the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with nine wins in ten games.[33] In the finals in Russia, the tournament ended in the round-of-16 after a 1–2 loss against Uruguay.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Santos earned a degree in electrical and telecommunications engineering, awarded in 1977 by the Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa.[1][35] As he was in charge when Porto won its fifth consecutive championship in 1999, he was nicknamed Engenheiro do Penta (Penta's engineer).[36]

Management style[edit]

Santos has spoken of the influence of Englishman Jimmy Hagan who used to manage him at S.L. Benfica. “He was a father figure, the first coach I had and I think he was one of the first coaches anywhere in the world to work on physical condition, tactics and technique all the same time in one single training session". Santos builds his teams on the core values of commitment, courage and self-sacrifice, as seen in his Euro 2016 win with Portugal. He sets a solid defensive base with hard running midfield players. He has varied with his use of Cristiano Ronaldo in attack, at times as more of a wide attacker and others central with another striker in a compact 4-4-2. He prioritizes functionality, notably with Greece at the 2014 World Cup. An emphasis on defensive solidity over traditional attacking flair helped Portugal win their first major international trophy under his charge. He drills his teams well as a unit, often fielding a midfield comprising entirely of central players. Portugal under his management often drop deep against stronger teams instead of press high, and utilize counter-attacking play to pose a threat.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 22 March 2019[37]
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Estoril 1 July 1988 30 June 1994 140 41 42 57 029.29
Estrela da Amadora 1 July 1994 4 June 1998 136 39 47 50 028.68
Porto 4 June 1998 8 June 2001 156 98 31 27 062.82
AEK Athens 17 June 2001 9 May 2002 51 38 5 8 074.51
Panathinaikos 18 May 2002 16 October 2002 4 1 0 3 025.00
Sporting 3 June 2003 1 June 2004 36 22 5 9 061.11
AEK Athens 18 July 2004 10 May 2006 60 38 15 7 063.33
Benfica 20 May 2006 20 August 2007 48 28 11 9 058.33
PAOK 4 September 2007 18 May 2010 114 58 24 32 050.88
Greece 1 July 2010 1 July 2014 49 26 17 6 053.06
Portugal 24 September 2014 Present 62 37 15 10 059.68
Career totals 856 426 212 218 049.77




AEK Athens




  1. ^ a b "Fernando Santos competition coaching record". UEFA. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Época 1975/76: Primeira Divisão" [1975/76 season: First Division] (in Portuguese). Arquivos da Bola. 5 April 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Época 1978/79: Primeira Divisão" [1978/79 season: First Division] (in Portuguese). Arquivos da Bola. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Época 1979/80: Primeira Divisão" [1979/80 season: First Division] (in Portuguese). Arquivos da Bola. 8 March 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Bayern 2–1 Porto". UEFA. 19 April 2000. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Santos quits AEK". UEFA. 9 May 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Santos moves to Panathinaikos". UEFA. 20 May 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Santos out at Panathinaikos". UEFA. 17 October 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Sporting put faith in Santos". UEFA. 3 June 2003. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Santos ousted at Sporting". UEFA. 2 June 2004. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Santos returns to AEK". UEFA. 16 July 2004. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Santos fills coaching void at Benfica". UEFA. 21 May 2006. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Katsouranis joins Santos at Benfica". UEFA. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Santos shown door at Benfica". UEFA. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  15. ^ "PAOK plump for Santos experience". UEFA. 5 September 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  16. ^ Η Συνέντευξη Τύπου του Fernando Santos (Fernando Santos' press conference) Archived 21 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine; PAOK FC, 19 May 2010 (in Greek)
  17. ^ "Santos replaces Rehhagel for Greece". UEFA. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  18. ^ "World Cup 2012: Fernando Santos named new Greece coach". BBC Sport. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  19. ^ "Germany overpower Greece in Gdansk". UEFA. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  20. ^ Ong, Larry (29 June 2014). "Fernando Santos sending off: Greece coach sent to the stands by referee Benjamin Williams, complains of double-standards". Epoch Times. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  21. ^ Hassan, Nabil (30 June 2014). "Costa Rica 1–1 Greece (Costa Rica win 5–3 on penalties)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Portugal coach Fernando Santos loses appeal against eight-match suspension". The Guardian. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  23. ^ "Portugal coach Santos wins cut in World Cup misconduct ban". ESPN FC. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  24. ^ "Ex-Greece boss Santos appointed Portugal coach". UEFA. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  25. ^ "Ronaldo wins it for Portugal". UEFA. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  26. ^ "Portugal set for home-from-home EURO". UEFA. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  27. ^ "Pepe integrado no treino da selecção portuguesa" [Pepe added to Portuguese national team training]. Público (in Portuguese). 27 March 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  28. ^ "Ilídio Vale: "Vencemos graças ao espírito coletivo"" [Ilídio Vale: "We won thanks to team spirit"] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  29. ^ "Euro 2016: England to face Iceland in last 16". BBC Sport. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  30. ^ "Portugal 1–0 France". BBC Sport. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  31. ^ "Portugal reach EURO final as Wales fairy tale ends". UEFA. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  32. ^ "Fernando Santos convicto da vitória sobre a "fortíssima" Suíça" [Fernando Santos certain of win over "very strong" Switzerland] (in Portuguese). TSF. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  33. ^ "Portugal 2–0 Switzerland". BBC Sport. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  34. ^ Gary Rose (30 June 2018). "Uruguay 2–1 Portugal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  35. ^ "Fernando Santos: 'Como treinador não tenho coração'" [Fernando Santos: 'As a manager I have no heart']. Sol (in Portuguese). 23 September 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  36. ^ "O engenheiro das qualificações que só perdeu uma vez" [The qualifying engineer that has only lost once] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  37. ^ Fernando Santos coach profile at Soccerway
  38. ^ ""Portugal fez uma prova excelente", diz Fernando Santos" ["Portugal had an excellent tournament", Fernando Santos says] (in Portuguese). TSF. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  39. ^ "Fernando Santos é o treinador da década na Grécia" [Fernando Santos is Greece manager of the decade] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 5 February 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  40. ^ "Former results". International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Retrieved 13 January 2016.

External links[edit]