Álvaro Pacheco cites Vasco da Gama’s political history ahead of Brazil venture: “It’s a club I identify with”

Álvaro Pacheco is the latest Portuguese coach taking up a new challenge in Brazilian football, as he arrives in Rio de Janeiro to join Vasco da Gama.

The news comes as Pacheco’s legal team announced he is filing a lawsuit against Vitória SC president António Miguel Cardoso for defamation, following an acrimonious late-season departure from the club last week.

Pacheco was relieved of his duties with Vitória just days before the final game of the season, which The Conquerors won 3-1 at Arouca. Following his departure, Cardoso released a statement saying the club “could not be held hostage” by Pacheco and required a coach “who cares about the badge” moving forward.

The day after Vitória rounded off their campaign with victory against Arouca, Pacheco travelled to Brazil to finalise his deal with Vasco. Pacheco’s prior negotiations with Cuiabá in April were made public to intensify strained relations at Vitória, with fellow Portuguese Armando Petit ultimately filling the position.

So it will be Vasco where Pacheco will undertake the first foreign venture of his career as player and manager. The club nicknamed ‘Giant of the Hill’ are 4-time champions of Brazil and were South American champions in 1998, but have hit on tough times in recent years, suffering four relegations to Serie B the last 15 years, usually returning to the top flight immediately.

“It's a great opportunity, I'm going to train the 'Giant of the Hill', for me it's a great pride, I'm going there with a lot of desire to work,” Pacheco told journalists. “It is a club that is huge and wants to quickly get back to the levels it deserves and I will help it get close to titles.

“I’ve spoken to people from Vasco’s board and they made me feel wanted to go there. I’m going with great desire to be happy. I will see you all later, as I’ll return to Portuguese football soon enough.”

Asked about his knowledge of Vasco, Pacheco told reporters: “It was founded by Portuguese and Brazilians, it has a history closely linked to Portugal, it was created in 1898 by Portuguese. I also know its history against racism, against inequality, the giant club on the hill. I am clearly identified.

"I know it is a club that has been champion of Brasileirão four times, won a Copa do Brasil, a Libertadores, so I know that in recent periods it has also gone through ups and downs, and since 2020 it has been back in Brasileirão.

“I am aware of its greatness, of what it is. It's the demands, what the fans are passionate about, and the love they also have for the club. I'm going with great desire, all together, we're going to unite the club to pursue what the giant of Vasco's greatest goals are.”

Vasco won their last league match, ironically defeating Brazil’s Vitória 2-1 last weekend, which puts them 13th in the standings after six rounds, albeit with many clubs having played fewer matches. Pacheco becomes the second Luso manager at the club in recent years, with Ricardo Sá Pinto having spent two months in charge towards the end of the 2020 season.

By @SeanGillen9