FERNANDO SANTOS – I LOVE GREECE
Portugal national team coach Fernando Santos has opened up on his love for the country.
The coach worked with the Greek national team aside coaching teams like PAOK, AEK and Panathinaikos during his stay there.
“I really love Greece. I do not pretend that I am Greek. I am Portuguese with a Greek heart. I love Greece as my second home. I have a lot of friends there. My wife love Greece and one day I will come back,” the Euro 2016 winning tactician told a journalist during a presidential dinner in Lisbon. Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa hosted Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Lisbon and the coach was invited.
Santos struck gold with the Portuguese national team, helping them to lift their first major title in European football. They entered the tournament as underdogs, narrowly qualified but moved step after step until the final where they shocked France.
On the national team, he spoke pleasantly about his overall experiences. He described the team’s star player Cristiano Ronaldo as a “perfect professional player but also an excellent person.” He added that the Real Madrid star was someone who “helps a lot of people secretly,” aside being the regular 32-year old with great challenges.
Speaking on his time as the Greek national team coach, Santos said he thought the job would be for a very short time as he had been fired from his previous coaching roles in clubs three times. Santos said on getting there, the players believed in him so his only job was to persuade them of the hard work required.
By way of an advice, the coach said Greece should get more stadiums and football infrastructures. He also said the players and officials would need the right level of professionalism to get things done in this era of modern football.