SAO PAULO - Mano Menezes, a specialist in
leading big clubs out of the doldrums but little-known outside
his own country, became the coach of Brazil on Saturday when he
accepted an offer from the five-times world champions.
The 48-year-old, currently coach of Corinthians, confirmed
he had said yes to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF),
which had been turned down by Muricy Ramalho on Friday when his
club Fluminense refused to release him.
"For the whole of Brazil, I say that I officially accept the
invitation," Menezes told a news conference at his club. "I'm
very proud and happy."
"We must have 30, 40 or 50 excellent professionals in
Brazil, so if I'm second on the list, that's fine by me."
Menezes replaces Dunga, who quit after Brazil's shock
quarter-final defeat to Netherlands at the World Cup three weeks
ago. Both men hail from the south of Brazil, regarded as the
more European part of the country.
Menezes, who did not play professionally, will have the huge
task of trying to rebuild Brazil's national team, discredited
after a lacklustre display in South Africa, 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. With Brazil's failure to win
on home soil in 1950 still being mentioned regularly, the
pressure on Menezes and his team will be greater than ever.
He will also be under pressure to restore a more attractive
playing style which many felt was missing under Dunga's
One of his biggest problems could be that Brazil will
qualify automatically as hosts and will be short of competitive
football, with only next year's Copa America and the 2013
Confederations Cup to test the team.
Otherwise, he faces a long run of friendlies, starting with
a match away to United States on August 10.
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 Champions
He then joined Corinthians, another hugely popular team, and
led them out of the second division in 2008.
Since then, his side have won the Copa Brasil and signed
former Brazil World Cup winners Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos.
CBF president Ricardo Teixeira said in a statement that the
team would depend less on foreign-based players, a risky
strategy which has not succeeded when it has been tried in the
"Brazil, as the new coach told me, will have a significant
presence of players who play for Brazilian clubs, Mano Menezes
is the right person to lead this process," said Teixeira.
"I am a certain he will do a great job until 2014. He showed
courage and pride in having the opportunity which every coach in
the world dreams of."
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