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Santos to quit coaching PAOK

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 May 2010

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Portuguese coach Fernando Santos announced on Tuesday that he is leaving PAOK Salonica, despite guiding them to next season’s Champions League qualifying round for the first time.

Santos told a press conference that he is stepping down for personal reasons and that he made up his mind two months ago, saying he was “exhausted”.

He has been the coach of PAOK for the last three years and the club’s administration made it known that they wanted Santos to stay for another three years.

“I have decided at this point that it would not be the best for me or for PAOK to carry on,” he told reporters.

“I would like to apologise to everyone who tried to keep me here. I believe that these three years were very exhausting for me and I realised I would not be able to give 100 percent of my commitment.”

He denied rumours in the Greek press that he may accept the vacant coaching job at rivals Olympiakos or that he had been approached by the Greek football federation to take over the national team if current coach Otto Rehhagel decides to call it quits after the World Cup this summer.

Santos, 55, did say that he would like to continue coaching in Greece in the near future, as he considers it his “second home”.

He has already coached two Athenian clubs, Panathinaikos and AEK.

Press reports here point to Santos’s countryman Jorge Costa, the former Porto player and Braga coach, as a prime choice to replace him at PAOK.

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