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Top facts about Fernando Santos, Penta's engineer

Thu 22 July 2021 | 13:30

Fernando Santos is a Portuguese football manager and former player who played as a defender. He is the national team coach of Portugal. Here you can read about the most important facts about Fernando Santos, the Portuguese coach.

Fernando Santos was a junior footballer at SL Benfica but established himself as a first-line defender at GD Estoril Praia. He also played for CS Marítimo.

While still a player, Santos began activity in the field of electrical engineering, which he had trained in during his career, but in 1987 he could not resist the appeal of Estoril Praia to take on the technical command of the team full time.

After seven seasons and two promotions in the division, he caught the attention of Estrela da Amadora, where he achieved the club's best ranking ever in the League (7th).

He then worked at FC Porto (one championship, two Cups and two Super Cups), at AEK (on two occasions, winning a Greek Cup), at Panathinaikos,

Sporting CP

, SL Benfica, PAOK Salónica, and the Greek national team.

Santos was the coach of the year in Greece four times and also coach of the 2000/10 decade in that country in September 2014. In 2016, he took Portugal to its first European title, after a journey of one year and nine months without any defeat in official games.

Top facts about Fernando Santos:

The first

fact about Fernando Santos

is that over eight seasons, he played 161 games and scored two goals in the Primeira Liga, nearly exclusively with Estoril. He served as a coach for many decades after retirement, beginning in 1988 with his primary club.

Fernando Santos early life

Fernando Manuel Fernandes da Costa Santos GOM was born on the 10th of October 1954, meaning that

Fernando Santos age

is 66. Speaking about

Fernando Santos parents

, it should be mentioned that if anyone had an influence on Fernando Santos' life, it was his father.

He was a man who enjoyed the small pleasures of life, eating snails and drinking a few beers, but who was a man full of rules and who imposed them. About

Fernando Santos childhood

, it should be mentioned that he was born in Lisbon and joined Benfica's youth setup at the age of 16, completing his growth with the club.

Fernando Santos father was a man of incredible hardness, he didn't admit faults. He himself was very scrupulous in everything. Fernando Santos said about his family, "My father was my best friend, the man to whom I owe everything I am, to him and my mother." His mother, Maria de Lurdes, is from Sorgassosa, in the municipality of Arganil.

Fernando Santos personal life

Santos graduated from the Universidade Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa with a degree in electrical and telecommunications technology in 1977. He was dubbed Engenheiro do Penta (Penta's engineer) since he was in command when Porto won their fifth straight title in 1999. Santos knows English and Greek in addition to his native Portuguese.

Fernando Santos and Guilhermina Santos are married. The pair is said to have been married for a long time. However, there is little information regarding their wedding date or children, implying that the pair wants to keep their personal lives out of the spotlight.

Whether with a beard, mustache or a clean face, he always projected the image of a serious, austere man, with a difficult smile, competent, with strong convictions, conciliatory. A practicing Catholic with an unshakable faith, as he himself has admitted in several interviews.

The notable

fact about Fernando Santos

is that with a crucifix in his pocket – he has been using it for almost 30 years – the testimony of his faith was present in the first words after the Euro 2016 final, where he read a letter he wrote several weeks before the competition started. “I thank God and the Father”.

Fernando Santos professional career

Fernando Santos finished his development with


, having joined its youth system at the age of 16. His senior debut was made with Estoril, which he went on to represent in all three major levels of Portuguese football. Santos started working as a manager immediately after retiring at the age of 33.

Fernando Santos playing career

An important fact about Fernando Santos professional playing career is that he made his senior debut with Estoril, a club he later represented at all three levels of Portuguese football.

On September 7, 1975, Santos made his Primeira Liga debut, playing the whole 90 minutes in a 2–0 home victory against


. He made a total of 12 appearances in his debut season, leading his club reach eighth place.

Santos' first goals in the top level came in the 1978–79 season, when he only missed one league game on route to an 11th-place finish. He went to fellow league club Martimo in 1979–80, where he was likewise a first-choice player. After returning to his former club, he stayed for another eight years (five of them in the Segunda Liga) until retiring at the age of 33.

Fernando Santos coaching career

Santos returned to work as a manager as soon as he retired. In 1991, he assisted Estoril's comeback to the first tier, and for the next 10 years, he worked exclusively in that league, overseeing Estrela da Amadora.


An important fact about Fernando Santos is that he claimed the state title and the Portugal Supercup in his debut year after joining the latter club in the summer of 1998. He came in second to Sporting CP in the next season and guided the club to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Greece and Sporting Lisbon

Santos joined AEK Athens in the Superleague Greece in 2001, capturing the domestic cup but losing the division on goal difference to Olympiacos. He stayed in the nation and signed Panathinaikos, departing after just 4 months by mutual agreement.

For the 2003–04 season, Santos went to his homeland to take over Sporting from László Bölöni. On June 2, 2004, he was dismissed of his responsibilities after his squad only managed to place third.

Santos was the manager of AEK from 2004 until 2006. During his stint, he guided them to successive top-three victories and was named Manager of the Year in the previous year


Santos signed old junior side Benfica on May 20, 2006. The next month he was instrumental for the acquisition of former AEK player Kostas Katsouranis.

Santos saw captain and star striker Simo Sabrosa leave for Atlético Madrid during pre-season after finishing third in his first season, just two points behind winners


. He was fired on August 20, 2007, following a 1–1 away tie with Leixes, and replaced by José Antonio Camacho.


In mid-September 2007, Santos moved to Greece and the Superleague, accepting a three-year deal with PAOK. In 2009–10, he teamed up with directors of soccer – and previous international – Theodoros Zagorakis to guide the club to second place.

Santos revealed his intention to leave the Thessaloniki-based team at a news conference on May 19, 2010, despite the possibility of returning to the Champions League.

National team of Greece

A notable fact about Fernando Santos is that he was appointed the new coach of the Greek national team on July 1, 2010, replacing long-serving predecessor Otto Rehhagel on a two-year contract. He qualified his nation for the UEFA Euro 2012 competition, where they advanced to the quarterfinals.

Santos also led Greece to the knockout stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, which was the first time the country has ever done so. He was sent off by judge Ben Williams for obvious disobedience just before the beginning of the penalty shootout versus

Costa Rica

, which he ultimately lost 3–5.

From inside the stadium, he saw the judgment develop on a television, and the loss signaled the end of his career, since his contract ended the following day; For the incident, he was originally suspended for eight matches, but this was reduced to six after an appeal.

National team of Portugal

Santos was named the new coach of Portugal on September 23, 2014, after Paulo Bento was dismissed due to poor performances. His first game in command was a 1–0 victory in Denmark for the Euro 2016 qualifiers on 14 October, and the team went on to make the finals in France; while his ban, Ildio Vale was on the sideline.

Following a 1–0 extra-time defeat over the hosts on July 10, 2016, Santos guided Portugal to its first-ever major international victory, after three group stage draws that allowed group stage qualifying as third.

The lone 90-minute victory came versus Wales in the semi-finals, but his side was also the only one to go unbeaten in the competition.

An important fact about Fernando Santos is that he guided


to a 2–0 victory against


at the Estádio da Luz on October 10, 2017, his 63rd birthday, allowing them to complete the 2018 World Cup qualification season with nine victories in ten matches.

After a 1–2 defeat to Uruguay in the round of 16, the campaign in Russia came to an end in the round of 16. Santos guided the national side to the round of 16 at Euro 2020, where they lost 1–0 against


, after winning the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League.

A notable fact about Fernando Santos is that he in terms of records with the Portugal national team, the coach has a record of 10 wins, nine draws and three defeats in 22 games in Euro 2016, Confederations Cup 2017, World Cup 2018, Final Four of the League of Nations 2019 and Euro 2020.

In percentage terms, Fernando Santos has 45.5 percent of wins, 40.9 percent of draws and 13.6 percent of defeats. Two of the three defeats were precisely in this European Championship (against Germany and Belgium) and the first came in the 2018 World Cup, a race in which Portugal also fell in the round of 16 (against Uruguay).

In total, including qualifications, Portugal has already played 60 official games with the current coach, accumulating 39 wins (65 percent), 15 draws (25 percent) and six defeats (10 percent).

Switzerland, Uruguay, Ukraine, France, Germany and Belgium were the six teams that defeated Portugal in the legacy of Fernando Santos.

Fernando Santos coaching style

In his own words, Fernando Santos focuses on the result instead of beautiful performance, “I don't mind being ugly duckling. What interests me is going to the final and winning it. You like being beautiful? That’s okay. But between being pretty and at home and being ugly and competing in the final... I'd rather be ugly.”

Disciplinary coach and hard line, Fernando Santos likes his teams to act mainly with defensive solidity. Regardless of the system used (feels totally comfortable without the ball, directs the game through inductions and suffers little) his teams have less possession, with well-defined coverage and field zones, with a very high level of concentration and with great competence for defending their area.


fact about Fernando Santos

is that his preferred game schemes are 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, The idea is to make the most of the opponent's errors with a strong block defense, good ball recovery and a fast and vertical attack, that is often considered a pragmatic style of play.

Fernando Santos quotes

About Portugal national team chances before Euro 2020, he said, “Only one nation has ever claimed two European Championships in a succession, and that squad was Spain in 2008 and 2012.” Spain, too, needed a little luck. They only defeated Portugal on penalties in the 2012 semi-final when Bruno's [Bruno Alves] penalty struck both posts... This demonstrates how tough it is to win a tournament like this. Another indicator is the number of different teams that have won the event in the past.”

He continued, “What would constitute a failure? That term bothers me, but I get the question. Obviously, as contenders for the title, failing to go beyond the group stage will be a disaster. However, I do not think this will occur in Portugal. This is a really challenging group, and I'm not sure why three such good teams are in the same group; it's perplexing. I don't think I've ever seen it before.”

He finally pointed out, “However, I believe that people have the right and the responsibility to demand that we do all we can to win, relying on our quality, organization, and dedication and I feel that we are prepared for it. Portugal is capable of going head-to-head with any squad that wants to capture the tourney.”

Many coaches in different teams have claimed that Cristiano is invincible in the squad, but Santos policy is not like that, “Obviously, if we feel Cristiano isn't in good form and isn't giving the squad what we want, he'll have to be a replacement and accept.

From a defensive standpoint, Cristiano does not provide much to the squad. We don't want him to come! That has always been the situation, and the squad is well aware of it. Ronaldo brings with him the respect of our opponents as well as the ability to score goals.”

He continued, “In their club teams several of our other stars have a little of

Cristiano Ronaldo

. Their coach organizes the squad around one player who will have the greatest impact. There will always be players who are not involved in the defensive process because the coach thinks it is the responsibility of others.

But I can't send four or five players out on the field for Portugal who just play the attacking part of the game because it would cause us difficulties. That is something that all of the players are aware of. I complimented them on their dedication, devotion, and meticulous attention to detail. Individual quality exists, and it does not alter or go away.”

After Euro 2020 elimination versus Belguim, Fernando Santos said, “It's an unjust result, they fired six bullets, one of which was on target. We had 29 and were unable to score even once. The ball refused to go in. In the locker room, several of my guys are crying.”

Santos then remarked, “Ronaldo scored five goals throughout the tournament, OK he didn't score today, but he was a real captain in every meaning of the word. He attempted to change the game's outcome. There isn't a problem with Ronaldo.

We, the Portuguese, believed and had confidence in our abilities. We were convinced that we could reach the final and win. In football there is no justice or injustice, there are those who score and those who don't. We conceded a goal and failed to score, that's football.”

Fernando Santos biography book

The book "Do Sonho à Vitória", a biography of Portuguese football coach Fernando Santos by journalist António Tadeia, has been released by Oficina do Livro. The book, "is neither an official nor an authorized biography, because it does not fall within the scope of journalism", the author explained to the Lusa news agency, who makes his debut with a work that took "two months of intense work" to complete.

"This book is not a literary work; it is a large report. It is a journalistic and not a literary product", said Tadeia, who confessed to being a "compulsive reader of biographies" and carried out "more than 50 interviews" to support the story.

With the "knowledge" of the national coach, European champion at Euro 2016, played in France, the text crosses all stages of Santos' life, from his career as a player at Estoril Praia or Marítimo, through his career as a coach in Portugal and Greece, until the successful qualification for the 2018 Mundial.

To support the investigation, he spoke with "people who knew him in childhood and adolescence to people who played with him in Benfica's juniors, Estoril or Marítimo.

"From Sonho à Vitória - The secrets of Fernando Santos' leadership" is, therefore, an "accumulation of stories", even as a way of dispelling "the idea of the unsmiling Fernando, with an ill-tempered air, and highlighting the many "stories of companionship and card games", from the most unusual to events that shaped the coach's personality.

"You can't find a person who speaks ill of him. Augusto Inácio, who was his classmate and later a rival, told me the following, 'people may not like me or like me, but Fernando Santos, for not like it, you have to be very stupid'", he revealed.

Parallel to an "almost chronological path in Fernando Santos' life" are two aspects, the "question of faith" and the "leadership model", the first of which is "fundamental to explain the person".

"There are wonderful stories, especially about the importance of the father in defining his personality, and the relationship he has with him, despite his father having died more than 20 years ago," he said.

On the other hand, the leadership applied to the squads that he guided throughout his career, from FC Porto five-time champion to the Greek and Portuguese national team, among many others, can be reflected "a little in what is the figure of the godfather in Portuguese families".

Among the main influences on the model that he later applied to the teams he worked for, in addition to his father, are the Englishman Jimmy Hagan, his coach on his second spell at Estoril Praia, in the more "austere and old-fashioned" register, but also António Medeiros, in Estorilistas and Marítimo, a "companion".

The "many stories from the Estoril spa" are one of the highlights, such as "the president and coach, in front of the bus, racing against each other on the highway," before highlighting the last major influence, the from Mário Wilson, a "kind of second father" in relation to the players.

The more personal side and the portrayal of the coach's character, as well as "the secrets of leadership", stand out in Tadeia's work, which also reinforces the link between "faith as part of the effectiveness of his leadership", even though the book go further.

The biography begins with a game by Benfica at Estádio da Luz, when he was just 50 days old, in 1954, and goes through his childhood, his career as a player, the engineering course, and later on, joining Estrela da Amadora.

Fernando Santos after Euro 2020

Rui Santos took a look at the performance of the national coach. The SIC commentator says that it is necessary to be grateful for the work developed by Fernando Santos, he believes that a change is needed to make the team more ambitious, but understands that no one will take a position until the end of the World Cup in Qatar.

He said, “I have repeatedly underlined the importance of Fernando Santos' arrival at the FPF and the National Team and I believe that the country is recognized for the work he has developed over the last almost 7 years. He harmonized the atmosphere, ended the vetoed saga and, above all, at the beginning of the process, he did not give any chance of Cristiano Ronaldo feeling the slightest hostility around him. Fernando Santos was Cristiano Ronaldo's stabilizer in the National Team.”

He continued, “In addition to all this, Fernando Santos gave Portugal the most important title in the history of national football if we look at Euro-2016 and now to Euro-2020 (in 2021), despite the qualitative improvement of the set of selectable players and available to the national selector.

Should Santos leave his position as the coach of the Portugal national team? It’s a huge choice to make; after all, Portugal has had a lot of great teams in the past, but they've never won anything.

With Fernando Santos, Portugal was able to do something they had never done before: they were able to complete the task. Losing him would mean losing Portugal's most successful manager, and there's something to be said about being cautious what you ask for.

Emotions are running high right now, and although many people wanted change even before the tournament began, others who have backed Santos up until this point may be reconsidering. However, taking the time to think and weigh the alternatives before making a hasty decision is a prudent approach to such a major decision.

António Fidalgo, a friend and former assistant to the national coach, sees no reason to question the continuity of Fernando Santos, “It doesn't make sense to question the continuity of Fernando Santos. Especially after the inglorious way we left the European Championship and an unfortunate defeat against Belgium. Everyone is free to have their opinion, but many criticisms seem unfair to me.”

Fernando Santos social media


Fernando Santos social media

, it should be mentioned that he does not have an Instagram or twitter page, since he does not enjoy sharing different aspects of his personal life with the public.

Fernando Santos body measurements

Speaking about

Fernando Santos body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the Portuguese coach is 5 ft 12 in (182 cm) and weighs 176 lbs (80 kg).

Fernando Santos net worth

Speaking about

Fernando Santos net worth

and salary, it should be mentioned that the manager now earns $2.61 million per year and is the sixth highest-paid FIFA national Team coach. His football career, first as a player and subsequently as a manager, is a major source of revenue for him.

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source: SportMob