ATHENS – (By Michalis Psilos – ANA) When I was invited to an official dinner hosted by the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion of Lisbon, I could not imagine that I would have the honor to sit next to the world leading coach for 2016, Fernando Santos.
Fernando Santos, former coach of the Greek national team, as well as AEK, PAOK and Panathinaikos teams and current coach of Portugal’s national team, opened his “Greek” heart to the Athens Macedonian News Agency and spoke among others about his love for Greece.
“I really love Greece. I do not pretend that I am Greek. I am Portuguese with a Greek heart,” he stated and added: “I love Greece as my second home. I have a lot of friends there. My wife loves Greece and one day I will come back.”
Santos admitted that when he took the job, he believed that it would last for two days. He has been already been fired three time in Greece. But then he realised that things were different in the national team. The players believed in him. His role was to persuade them that hard work was required.
The former coach of the national team stressed the importance of the football infrastructure. “Greece lacks modern stadiums, but also the proper professionalism. Players, officials … Nowadays a key factor in modern football is the combination with science. This is very important. This is how players will better perform. This is the key,” he underlined.
He also spoke highly of Portugal’s national team and the players that worth tens of millions, such as Christiano Ronaldo. “He is a perfect professional player but also an excellent person. He helps a lot of people secretly. And let’s not forget that he is only 32 years old who is daily faced with great challenges.”
In the end of the discussion, Santos sent his love to Greece and promised to come back.