Former Braga, Benfica and Sporting boss Jorge Jesus has been confirmed as the impending new coach of Brazilian giants Flamengo on a one-year contract. The 64-year-old will begin work in Rio de Janeiro later this month and becomes the second Portuguese manager in Flamengo’s history.
Jesus has been out of work since leaving Saudi Arabian club Ah-Hilal in January, but his new venture was announced by Flamengo president Rodolfo Landim after the pair met in Madrid to finalise terms on the appointment.
Experienced coach Abel Braga left Flamengo this week after just six rounds of the new Campeonato Brasileiro Série A season, with the team having taken 10 points from the 18 available and currently occupying 6th place in the standings. Former Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras lead the standings as they look to defend their title.
“I practically have a new club from today,” Jesus told A Bola. “I sorted out everything with the president of Flamengo. I did not sign anything but we reached a verbal agreement.
“I know Brazil relatively well, I know the habits, I worked with many Brazilian players and I know the championship. I have no problem. For someone who has lived in Saudi Arabia for eight months, it will be much easier to live in Brazil.
"What convinced me was the greatness of Flamengo. I've always been told that Real Madrid, Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Flamengo are the biggest clubs in the world, these are my references.
“If it was for financial reasons I would not go to Brazil, I'm going to win titles. In Flamengo I have the possibility to win the Copa Libertadores, to reach the World Club Cup final. Flamengo enters every competition to win them. At Benfica I won everything I had to win in Portugal.
"I had the dream of working in Brazil and I have the strongest team in the country. I'm very excited.”
For his part, Flamengo president Landim said: “We are happy to have Jorge Jesus with us. He will arrive in mid-June to train the team. He has already done what we want to achieve in Flamengo – to win everything!”
A key date in the diary for Jesus will be the meeting with Ecuadorians Emelec in the Copa Libertadores, with the first leg away in Guayaquil scheduled for Wednesday 25th July and the return a week later. Flamengo have won the prestigious trophy just once in their history, with club legend Zico inspiring the triumph in 1981.
Jesus becomes only the second non-Brazilian to coach Flamengo since before the 1981 triumph and the second Portuguese boss in the club’s history. Cândido de Oliveira, who had three spells in charge of the Portugal national team, spent a brief period at the club in 1950 during the year the city's famous Maracanã Stadium was opened.
By Sean Gillen