‘I am a worshipper of Saint Mary,’ admits new Polish national football team coach

Fernando Santos converted to Christianity in 1994 and has not hidden his faith since

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: dorzeczy.pl
Fernando Santos attends a news conference after being announced by the Polish Football Association as the new national soccer team coach in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk)

The new coach of the Polish national football team, Fernando Santos, is a religious man and does not keep it a secret. “The first thing I do in the morning is entrust my day to God, and the last is to thank him for the entire day,” Santos said during an interview for The Pillar portal.

Santos converted in 1994, and despite receiving the sacrament of baptism, his faith had previously been unimportant to him. However, the coach has always been superstitious, wearing certain clothes, and always returning home using the exact same path, something he believes has brought him luck on the coach’s bench.

“I never had real faith, or very little faith. I received sanctifying grace during my baptism, so there was some, but strong faith in God came only when I realized that the mystery of resurrection is what defines Christianity,” he told the Catholic news outlet.

Santos tries to speak with God regularly, no matter if it takes place in his home, car, or the locker room. Usually, the Portuguese coach asks for wisdom and humility. However, as he admits, he does not attempt to persuade his players to talk about God.

“It is not the place for those kinds of discussions,” he said.

An important place for Santos is the Catholic pilgrimage site Fátima in Portugal. “I fell in love with this place, because Saint Mary was there and the message she left is very important for humanity,” said Santos.

On Tuesday, at the PGE National Stadium in Warsaw, President of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) Cezary Kulesza introduced 68-year-old Fernando Santos as the new manager of the Polish national football team. The coach has previously worked with the Portuguese and Greek national teams.

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