Portugal Fires Manager Fernando Santos After World Cup Drama With Cristiano Ronaldo

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Andrew Powell Contributor
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To be quite frank, I saw this coming.

Portugal’s dramatic storybook run to the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals ended with an upset against Morocco and was full of distractions involving Cristiano Ronaldo. Now, the saga is officially drawing to a close as manager Fernando Santos has been nixed from his position.

Portugal made the move on Dec. 15 after the team’s World Cup exit following a 1-0 defeat to African side Morocco — the second game where Santos didn’t feature Ronaldo in the starting XI.

Santos was hired as Portugal’s manager after the 2014 World Cup to succeed Paulo Bento, who was fired. Santos led Portugal to the UEFA European Championship in 2016 — the country’s first major international trophy. At the 2018 World Cup under Santos’ leadership, Portugal fell in round of 16 against Uruguay.

I feel for Fernando Santos, because I’m willing to bet that Cristiano Ronaldo used his power and influence to get Santos canned. And don’t get me wrong. I like Ronaldo, and if he did indeed make a move behind the scenes to get Santos fired, I’m not going to hate on him for it at all — I’ll admire it.

I’ll always love seeing players and owners flex their muscles and exercise their power. Ronaldo put himself in that position with hard work, and honestly, I wish I had that much power (and his money). I’d use it too — maybe not to the pettiness of Ronaldo, but I’d use it. (RELATED: REPORT: Famous Croatian Superfan Ivana Knoll Claims Several World Cup Stars Sent Her Marriage Proposals, Sexy Messages)

But just wait when the smoke completely clears: I guarantee you it comes out that Ronaldo was behind Santos’ ouster. It’s totally something Ronaldo would do. This is the same guy who got both his girlfriend and sister, as well as himself, to gang up on Santos on social media. This is the same petty guy who got pissed after an ugly statue was made in his honor, completely ignoring the fact that an entire international airport was named after him. My point: Cristiano Ronaldo is egotistical as hell. Of course he would get Santos fired if he could.

But like I said, it would be an excellent power move by Ronaldo. I’m just saying: He is who he is.

We’ll see, but I guarantee I’ll be 100% right about this whole thing.