Portuguese António Oliveira is the new manager of Brazilian powerhouses Corinthians, joining the club on a contract until the end of the upcoming season from Cuiabá.
Oliveira replaces former Brazil national team manager Mano Menezes at the São Paulo outfit, in what is the most high-profile job of the 41-year-old’s managerial career thus far.
Son of Benfica legend Toni, aspiring coach Oliveira first arrived in Brazil at the age of 37 back in 2020 to work on Jesualdo Ferreira’s staff as assistant manager at Santos. After Jesualdo was fired, Oliveira moved to Athletico Paranaense, where he initially worked with the under-23 side before serving as manager for six months in what was his first senior head-coach role.
A brief stint with Benfica B followed, but Oliveira’s contract was not renewed in Lisbon and he soon found himself back in Brazil. He took the reigns at Cuiabá in the summer of 2022, but left at the end of the season for fellow top-flight side Coritiba. His time in the city of Curitiba was short-lived and Oliveira returned to Cuiabá in February 2024.
Corinthians have paid around €200,000 to release Oliveira from his contract at Cuiabá, whom he guided to the safety of a 16th-place finish in the Campeonato Brasileiro last term. Oliveira has already racked up 120 matches in Brazilian football across his two spells with Cuiabá and his time at Athletico Paranaense and Coritiba.
“If I wanted a comfort zone, I would have stayed where I was,” Oliveira said upon his presentation at Corinthians. “I know the challenge, but I also know my ability, the capacity, competence and professionalism of those who work with me, and above all I trust the players a lot.
“There are no good or bad times to represent Corinthians. This opportunity in my life is irrefutable. The horse could pass only once. I took advantage of the opportunity because there’s a reason I’m here, the results.
“But from now on everything is speculation and, from this perspective, the only thing we promise is organisation, professionalism, competence and, above all, bringing out the best in the quality of these players, of which there is a lot.
“I know they are best-placed to restore the grandeur of this huge club. We are talking about a colossus of world football and I am very happy to be here.”
Deemed not good enough to coach Benfica B a couple of years ago, António Oliveira now leads one of Brazil’s biggest clubs. This was his first day at Corinthians:pic.twitter.com/YNOviC0NlO— Sean Gillen (@SeanGillen9) February 10, 2024
Oliveira, who had an unexceptional playing career as a defender, took his early steps in coaching working with his father Toni – a Benfica legend who won a total of 10 league titles as player (8) and manager (2) with the Eagles. The pair worked together at Iranian side Tractor and Kazma of Kuwait, before Toni retired from management and Oliveira pursued his coaching career alongside Jesualdo at Santos.
There is little time to waste in Oliveira’s new role, with Timão currently contesting the Paulista State Championship before the new Brasileirão season begins in April. Corinthians ended last season in 13th place, representing a major drop-off from their 4th place finish in the previous campaign under another Portuguese - Vítor Pereira.