Fernando Santos steps down as Portugal boss after World Cup disappointment
Italy Serie A (Italy) FIFA World Cup Portugal

Fernando Santos has agreed to leave his post as manager of the Portugal national team after their quarterfinal defeat at the FIFA World Cup.

His final game in charge was the 1-0 loss against Morocco where he made the controversial decision to leave captain and all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.

Santos released an emotional video message after the news was confirmed where he said that becoming Portugal’s coach was a “dream come true” and a “life goal” he fulfilled.

“When you lead groups, you have to make some difficult decisions,” he added. “It’s normal that not everyone was happy with the choices I made but the decisions I took were always thinking about what would be best for our team.

"From today onwards I will be one more among so many million who will vibrantly support the Seleção, wherever I am.”

Fernando Santos' name will forever be etched in the history books as he became the first coach to provide the massive footballing nation with its first international trophy when he led an unfancied Portugal team to the European Championship in 2016.

Two years later, he led the Selecao to another title as they became the Inaugural UEFA Nations League winners by defeating the Netherlands on home soil in 2018.

Santos oversaw a total of 109 matches for Portugal, winning 68, drawing 21 and losing 20. He managed the most Portugal national team games and has the most victories of any Selecao manager.

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) released a statement confirming the departure of Santos. They also thanked him for his service.

"The Portuguese Football Federation and Fernando Santos agreed to end the highly successful journey started in September 2014.

"After one of the best participations ever by the National Team in the final stages of the World Championship, in Qatar, FPF and Fernando Santos understand that this is the right time to start a new cycle.

"With Fernando Santos at the head of the National Team, our country won two international competitions for the first time: the unforgettable Euro 2016, in France, and the League of Nations, in 2019.

"In addition to the titles won, Fernando Santos became the coach with the most games and most victories.

"It was an honor to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos at the head of the National Team.

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 will now begin the process of choosing the next national coach."

The biggest link to the vacant Portugal role has been Roma manager Jose Mourinho who could possibly manage the national team while fulfilling his duties as Roma manager as well.