Fernando Santos is moving from coaching Cristiano Ronaldo to managing Robert Lewandowski, another soccer great.
A month after he had departed from his native Portugal, he was presented in Warsaw as the coach of the national team of Poland.
The 68-year-old had become the third foreign-born coach in Poland after Paulo Sousa and Leo Beenhakker and arrives with the expertise of leading top players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, who he had benched the previous month in the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Now, Santos is going to manage a team captained by Robert Lewandowski, the striker of Barcelona who at 32 might be approaching his career’s end and might just have the 2024 European Championship and World Cup 2025 left to play on an international level.
Santos has been given the responsibility to improve their underwhelming record of Poland at the current major tournaments.
Poland has only moved from the group stage at one European Championship 2016 and one World Cup 2022 since 1986.
Santos is popular for being a defensive, practical-minded coach who has a good pure-blood at the global level. In 8 years with Portugal, he led the team to the title of Euro 2016- the first international trophy of the country and the National League inaugural title in 2019. Also, he coached Greece at the 2012 Euro, where he made it to the quarter-finals and the 2014 World Cup.
Poland did not extend the contract of the predecessor of Santos, Czeslaw Michniewicz after they reached World Cup’s knockout stage for the first time in more than three decades. The contract of Czeslaw Michniewicz ended on 31st December.
Paulo Bento, former South Korea and Portugal and Steven Gerrard the Liverpool great, currently fired by Aston Villa in the Premier League had been associated with the job when the soccer federation of Poland said that it is going to hire a foreign coach.