RIO DE JANEIRO - Five-times world
champions Brazil offered Mano Menezes the coach's job on Friday
shortly after original choice Muricy Ramalho's club Fluminense
refused to release him.
If he accepts, Menezes, who has lifted two of the country's
most popular clubs out of the doldrums, will have the huge task
of trying to rebuild Brazil's national team and win a sixth
world title when they host the 2014 World Cup.
Winning their own World Cup is seen as an obligation by
Brazil's 190 million inhabitants.
The job, one of the toughest in international football, has
been vacant since Dunga quit following the World Cup
quarter-final defeat to Netherlands three weeks ago.
Ramalho, who has considerable domestic success but like
Menezes is little known outside Brazil, sat down for talks on
Friday with Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president
Ricardo Teixeira, who praised the gruff 54-year-old's track
But hours later, Fluminense said that they wanted Ramalho
to see out his contract, which runs until 2012.
"Muricy is going to continue at Fluminense, fulfilling his
contractual commitments," club president Roberto Horcades told
In another twist, the CBF then said in a statement that
Menezes had been approached and gave the impression his
appointment was a mere formality.
"Mano Menezes will announce his decision at a news
conference organised by his club Corinthians, tomorrow
(Saturday), in Sao Paulo," said the statement on the CBF's
"Mano Menezes was one of a shortlist of three coaches and
had his name ratified after a conversation with Ricardo
Teixeira, when he showed himself to be in tune with the
rebuilding project drawn up by the CBF for the 2014 World Cup."
Menezes, 48, made his name in 2005 when he led former South
American champions Gremio out of the second division.
In an extraordinary decisive game, Gremio had four players
sent off, survived a penalty miss by opponents Nautico and then
snatched a goal to win 1-0 and clinch promotion.
Two years later, he took them to the final of the
Libertadores Cup, the South American equivalent of the
The following year he led Corinthians, another hugely
popular team, out of the second division.
Former Brazil, Portugal and Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe
Scolari, currently with Brazilian side Palmeiras, was believed
to be the other coach on the shortlist.
Fluminense's move is almost unprecedented as Brazilian
clubs are usually happy to oblige if their coach is picked for
the national team.
Ramalho took over at Fluminense in April and on Thursday
night his side beat Cruzeiro 1-0 to go top of the Brazilian
Club president Horcades praised Ramalho for not leaving.
"People with Muricy's standards are necessary in football,"
The down-to-earth Ramalho won three consecutive Brazilian
championship titles with Sao Paulo between 2006 and 2008,
although he was never able to win the Libertadores.
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