April 17 – Jorge Sampaoli has succeeded Vitor Pereira as the new manager of Flamengo. He will make his debut on Thursday against Chile’s Nublense in the Copa Libertadores.
Sacked by Sevilla in March over fears of relegation from La Liga, Sampaoli (pictured) signed a contract until 2024 with Flamengo and finds himself immediately in the pressure seat. The Rio club has already missed out on five titles this season and supporters have protested against the club management, demanding the board resign.
Last week, Flamengo suffered an embarrassing 2-0 defeat at the hands of lowly Maringa in the Brazilian Cup.
Sampaoli succeeds the Portuguese Pereira. The Argentine had been the frontrunner together with Jorge Jesus, the club’s 2019 messiah.
Jesus, however, is in the midst of a battle for the Turkish title with Fenerbahce, and following initial negotiations, Flamengo and Jesus could not come to an agreement. Sampaoli has previous experience in Brazil, having coached Santos and Atletico Mineiro. With the Belo Horizonte club, he won the local state championship.
He will have his work cut out with Flamengo competing in the Serie A, the Brazilian Cup and the Copa Libertadores, an even bigger target this season with the final scheduled for Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium in November.
Last year, Flamengo won the continental competition as well as the Brazilian Cup before, inexplicably, dismissing coach Dorival Junior. Pereira never got his team to play and succumbed to the pressure of fans, media and directors.
On Sunday, after travelling 20 hours from Spain, the Argentinean and more than 40,000 Flamenguistas were at the Maracana to watch the club’s curtain raiser of the 2023 Serie A season against Curitiba. After 12 minutes, Aryton Lucas opened the score with a screamer and Flamengo showed a greater commitment than in their previous lacklustre performances.
Gabriel Barbosa and Pedro sealed a comfortable 3-0 victory. Known for his attacking style of play with high pressing in a 3-4-3 formation, Sampaoli will get a first proper runout with his team in midweek against Nublense.
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