Nuno Espírito Santo

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Nuno Espírito Santo
Nuno Espírito Santo.jpg
Espírito Santo as manager of Valencia in 2015
Personal information
Full name Nuno Herlander Simões Espírito Santo
Date of birth (1974-01-25) 25 January 1974 (age 47)
Place of birth São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Wolverhampton Wanderers (head coach)
Youth career
1985–1986 Santoantoniense
1986–1987 Quimigal
1987–1991 Caçadores Torreenses
1991–1992 Vitória Guimarães
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1996 Vitória Guimarães 34 (0)
1993–1994Vila Real (loan) 19 (0)
1997–2002 Deportivo La Coruña 4 (0)
1998–2000Mérida (loan) 69 (0)
2000–2001Osasuna (loan) 33 (0)
2002–2004 Porto 6 (0)
2005–2006 Dynamo Moscow 11 (0)
2007 Aves 15 (0)
2007–2010 Porto 8 (0)
Total 199 (0)
National team
1992 Portugal U18 1 (0)
1995 Portugal U21 3 (0)
1996 Portugal U23 5 (0)
2000–2001 Portugal B 3 (0)
Teams managed
2012–2014 Rio Ave
2014–2015 Valencia
2016–2017 Porto
2017– Wolverhampton Wanderers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Nuno Herlander Simões Espírito Santo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈnunu (ɨ)ʃˈpiɾitu ˈsɐ̋tu]; born 25 January 1974), known simply as Nuno as a player, is a Portuguese former footballer who played as a goalkeeper, and is the current head coach of Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers.

During his career he first made a name for himself in Spain, playing for three teams in five years. He later returned to Portugal to represent Porto, and also played professionally in Russia; he was part of the Portuguese squad at Euro 2008, but never won a cap for the national team.

Espirito Santo started his coaching career at the Greek club Panathinaikos as an assistant. He became a manager in 2012, leading the Portuguese club Rio Ave to both domestic cup finals in 2014 before taking the reins at Valencia in Spain's La Liga.

Playing career[edit]

Early career / Deportivo[edit]

Born in São Tomé, Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe, Nuno started his football career with Vitória S.C. in Guimarães, battling from age 20 with veteran Neno for first-choice status. After a meeting with the then Porto nightclub owner Jorge Mendes he became the agent's first client in 1996;[1] Mendes brokered a $1 million transfer the following January to La Liga's Deportivo de La Coruña,[2] but Nuno would spend three of his six seasons in Galicia out on loan, backing up Jacques Songo'o (1996–98) and José Francisco Molina (2001–02) when he was part of the team.

In 1999–2000, as he represented CP Mérida in the Spanish second division, Nuno won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy and helped the side finish sixth, but it would be relegated to the third level due to irregularities.[3] The following season he was loaned to CA Osasuna,[4] going on to rank seventh in the Zamora as his team finished only one point above the relegation zone in the top tier.[5]


José Mourinho's FC Porto paid 3 million to bring Nuno back to the country in July 2002, as part of the deal that saw Jorge Andrade join Deportivo.[6] During a 2003 Taça de Portugal match against Varzim SC, he was allowed by Mourinho to convert a penalty kick, scoring the club's last goal in a 7–0 home routing.[7] In May 2004, Nuno was an unused substitute as Porto won the UEFA Champions League [8] final. On 12 December 2004, he replaced club great Vítor Baía during extra time of the Intercontinental Cup final penalty shootout victory against Once Caldas;[9] however, in January, he was sold to Russian Premier League's FC Dynamo Moscow.[10]

Again in January, in 2007, Nuno returned to Portugal for a stint with C.D. Aves,[11] eventually relegated from the Primeira Liga. In July he returned to Porto, backing up Brazilian Helton during most of his spell.[12] Despite his limited involvement on the pitch, he was considered a leader of the club.[13]

Nuno again played second-fiddle to Helton during the 2008–09 season appearing in only four games, but was the starter throughout the domestic cup campaign, including the final win (1–0) against F.C. Paços de Ferreira.[14]


Nuno represented Portugal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, playing four matches for the fourth-placed team.[15] Uncapped, he was called to the full squad competing in UEFA Euro 2008, replacing the injured Quim.[16]

Coaching career[edit]


On 21 June 2010, Porto announced Nuno's contract would not be renewed.[17] The 36-year-old said he would always support Porto as he left.[18] After his retirement he rejoined former Porto manager Jesualdo Ferreira, moving to Málaga CF as a goalkeeping coach; the pair signed for Panathinaikos FC in November 2010.[19]

Rio Ave[edit]

In May 2012, Rio Ave F.C. sacked manager Carlos Brito and announced the appointment of Espírito Santo.[20] In his second season in charge, the team reached both the Taça de Portugal and Taça da Liga finals,[21] also leading them to the UEFA Europa League for the first time in their history.


Espírito Santo signed a one-year contract with Valencia CF in La Liga on 4 July 2014, replacing the fired Juan Antonio Pizzi.[22] On 12 January 2015, he agreed to an extension to keep him at the club until 2018,[23] and he eventually led them to a fourth place finish in his first year,[24] highlights including a 2–1 home win over Real Madrid and a 2–2 away draw against the same opponent,[25][26] while he was named La Liga Manager of the Month three times;[27] he resigned on 29 November 2015, following a 0–1 away defeat to Sevilla FC, after a poor start to both Valencia's La Liga and Champions League campaigns.[28]


On 1 June 2016, Espírito Santo signed a two-year contract with Porto, replacing former head coach José Peseiro.[29] The following 22 May, however, after a season devoid of silverware which included a second place in the league,[30] he was relieved of his duties.[31]

Wolverhampton Wanderers[edit]

On 31 May 2017, Espírito Santo was named as the new head coach of English Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, signing a three-year deal.[32] He was voted the competition's Manager of the Month in November as his team won all four of their games, scoring 13 times.[33]

Espírito Santo led the club to the Premier League after a six-year absence, achieving promotion with four matches remaining in the season[34] and being confirmed as champions with two games to spare.[35] On 10 July 2018, it was announced that his contract had been extended until 2021.[36]

Espírito Santo was awarded the Premier League Manager of the Month title in his second month managing in the English top division[37] after his team went unbeaten in September 2018, accruing ten points from four matches and only conceding one goal. It was the first time that a Wolverhampton Wanderers manager had secured the award, in the club's fifth season in the competition.[38]

On 4 May 2019, Espírito Santo was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Sport by the University of Wolverhampton.[39]

Wolves finished seventh in the 2018–19 league season; it was the club's highest Premier League rank and their highest in the English top flight since the 1979–80 season, when they finished sixth. Wolves also qualified for the Europa League for the first time since 1980–81.[40]

Espírito Santo was awarded the Premier League Manager of the Month title for a second time on 10 July 2020 for a run of five fixtures unbeaten between the beginning of March and the end of June, sandwiching temporary suspension of the 2019–20 Premier League due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[41] The run included four wins and four clean sheets.

The 2019–20 season saw Espírito Santo's team achieve a second consecutive seventh place finish in the Premier League (with a record points total for Wolves in the Premier League of 59), and reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, the club's best such performance since being finalists in 1971–72.[42]

On 13 September 2020, at the outset of the 2020–21 season, Espírito Santo's contract at the club was extended until summer 2023.[43] He was Premier League Manager of the Month for October with a run of four fixtures unbeaten, including three wins without conceding; this was his third such award.[44]

On 27 February 2021, Nuno took charge of his 102nd Premier League game as Wolves head coach as his team played out a 1–1 draw with Newcastle United at St. James' Park, making him the longest-serving Wolves head coach in the Premier League era (Mick McCarthy was Wolves's head coach for 101 Premier League games in total between August 2009 and February 2012).[45]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 9 April 2021[46][47]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Rio Ave Portugal 15 May 2012 19 May 2014 80 32 17 31 87 97 −10 040.00
Valencia Spain 4 July 2014 29 November 2015 62 32 16 14 104 60 +44 051.61
Porto Portugal 1 June 2016 22 May 2017 49 27 16 6 88 28 +60 055.10
Wolverhampton Wanderers England 31 May 2017 Present 192 93 48 51 272 198 +74 048.44
Total 383 184 97 102 551 383 +168 048.04







Wolverhampton Wanderers



  1. ^ "Soccer exchange: How a super-agent and a Chinese billionaire planned to trade in players". Reuters. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  2. ^ Lowe, Sid (27 September 2016). "'I saw a lot from the bench': how Porto's reserve goalkeeper became manager". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  3. ^ Sainz, Manu (17 May 2012). "El primer fichaje de la factoría Jorge Mendes" [First signing of Jorge Mendes factory]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Nuno, cedido al Osasuna" [Nuno, loaned to Osasuna] (in Spanish). Deportivo La Coruña. 11 July 2000. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ Zariquiegui, Fermín (23 June 2002). "Mexicano Aguirre logra salvar del descenso a Osasuna" [Mexican Aguirre leads Osasuna out of relegation]. La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Venda do passe do jogador Jorge Andrade" [Player Jorge Andrade's pass sold] (PDF) (in Portuguese). FC Porto. 22 July 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  7. ^ "F.C. Porto: Nuno é mais que um guarda-redes" [F.C. Porto: Nuno is more than a goalkeeper]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 8 October 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  8. ^ "UEFA Champions League 2003/04 – History". Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  9. ^ Caetano, Filipe (12 December 2004). "F.C. Porto-Once Caldas, 0–0 (8–7 nas g.p.) (crónica)" [F.C. Porto-Once Caldas, 0–0 (8–7 on p.k.) (match report)] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Nuno apresentado no Dínamo Moscovo" [Nuno presented at Dynamo Moscow] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  11. ^ "D. Aves: Nuno Espírito Santo reforça leque de opções de Neca" [D. Aves: Nuno Espírito Santo strengthens Neca's options] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 11 January 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Nuno promete dar luta a Helton" [Nuno promises to challenge Helton]. Record (in Portuguese). 13 July 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  13. ^ Bates, Pearce (31 July 2018). ""O Substituto", Jorge Mendes nightclub encounter, a Wolves love affair, the story of Nuno Espirito Santo". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  14. ^ Travassos, Nuno (31 May 2009). "Helton: "Quem sou eu para dar conselhos ao Nuno?" (vídeo)" [Helton: «Who am I to give advice to Nuno?» (video)] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Atlanta1996 – Os portugueses" [Atlanta1996 – The Portuguese]. Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). 3 September 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Nuno é o substituto de Quim" [Nuno replaces Quim]. Record (in Portuguese). 7 June 2008. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Comunicado da FC Porto – Futebol, SAD" [FC Porto announcement – Football, PLSC] (in Portuguese). FC Porto. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  18. ^ "Nuno Espírito Santo: 'Sou e serei Porto!'" [Nuno Espírito Santo: 'I am and will be Porto!'] (in Portuguese). FC Porto. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  19. ^ "O técnico que já o era antes de o ser" [The manager who was one before ever being so]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 30 May 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Nuno Espírito Santo é o novo treinador" [Nuno Espírito Santo is the new manager]. A Bola (in Portuguese). 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  21. ^ "Nuno Espírito Santo feliz com 2.ª final da época" [Nuno Espírito Santo happy with second final of season]. Record (in Portuguese). 17 April 2014. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  22. ^ "#BenvingutNuno Nuno Espírito Santo firma su contrato como nuevo entrenador del Valencia CF" [#WelcomeNuno Nuno Espírito Santo signs contract as new Valencia CF manager] (in Spanish). Valencia CF. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  23. ^ "Nuno: "It is an honour and a pleasure to be here"". Valencia CF. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  24. ^ "El Valencia se impone en la batalla por la cuarta plaza" [Valencia win battle for fourth place] (in Spanish). La Liga. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
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  26. ^ Begley, Emlyn (9 May 2015). "Real Madrid 2–2 Valencia". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
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  29. ^ "Nuno Espírito Santo is the new coach at FC Porto". FC Porto. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  30. ^ Farrell, Dom (22 May 2017). "Porto boss Nuno steps down". Goal. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  31. ^ Ribeiro, José Manuel (22 May 2017). "Nuno Espírito Santo deixa o FC Porto" [Nuno Espírito Santo leaves FC Porto]. O Jogo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  32. ^ "Nuno Espirito Santo: Wolves appoint former Porto boss as head coach". BBC Sport. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  33. ^ a b "Championship Manager of the Month: Nuno – Wolverhampton Wanderers". English Football League. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
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  37. ^ "Nuno claims Barclays Manager of the Month". Premier League. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
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  43. ^ "Nuno signs new Wolves contract". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 13 September 2020.
  44. ^ "Nuno earns Barclays Manager of the Month award". Premier League. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  45. ^ Bysouth, Alex (27 February 2021). "Newcastle United 1–1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruben Neves denies hosts the win". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  46. ^ "Nuno Espírito Santo". Zerozero. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  47. ^ Nuno Espírito Santo coach profile at Soccerway
  48. ^ "The BBVA Prizes for December's best". Liga de Fútbol Profesional. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
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  50. ^ "Nuno claims Barclays Manager of the Month". Premier League. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  51. ^ "Nuno claims Barclays Manager of the Month award". Premier League. 10 July 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  52. ^ "Nuno earns Barclays Manager of the Month award". Premier League. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.

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