Paulo Sousa and 7 other foreign technicians who had a bad time in Brazil

Foreign coaches are on the rise in Brazilian football. Of the 20 clubs that compete in the first division, no less than eight are in the hands of “teachers” who were born abroad.

However, not all jobs carried out by gringos on the five-time world champions’ pitches reach the same level of success that has been achieved in recent years by Abel Ferreira (Palmeiras), Jorge Jesus (Flamengo), Jorge Sampaoli (Santos and Atlético-MG) and Juan Pablo Vojvoda. (Strength).

The recent dismissal of the Portuguese Paulo Sousa, who failed to give a result in front of the richest club in Brazil, Flamengo, is far from being the only failure of a coach from abroad in national football.

The “Rafael Reis Blog” presents below seven foreign coaches who, like the former Flamengo commander, did not do very well when they were in charge of Brazilian teams.

Flamengo (July to November 2020)


The first coach hired by Flamengo after the historic passage of Jorge Jesus by the club, he arrived in Brazil accredited for having been Pep Guardiola’s assistant for more than a decade. But, to this day, the red-black fan tries to understand what was the real role that Dome played in the commission of the victorious Manchester City commander. The Catalan was not adept at the idea that “in a winning team, you don’t move” and tried to change concepts that had been implemented by Jesus. The result was so catastrophic that, in less than 30 matches under his command, Fla managed to suffer three remarkable routs: 5 to 0 against Independiente del Valle, for Libertadores, 4 to 1 against São Paulo, in the Brazilian, and 4 to 0 of Atlético-MG, also in Serie A, defeat that cost him his job.

Cruise (May to July 2016)

Paulo Bento, now South Korea's coach, has already managed Cruzeiro - Press Release/KFA - Press Release/KFA
Image: Disclosure/KFA

The commander of the South Korean team that will compete in the 2022 Qatar World Cup was here for a few years before Portuguese coaches became a craze in Brazil. And it certainly wasn’t for his achievements that the compatriots of José Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo were so celebrated. Former midfielder who had already commanded Portugal in the 2014 World Cup and was a semi-finalist in Euro 2012 with the Portuguese national team, Paulo Bento directed Cruzeiro in just 15 matches and lost more than half of them (eight). When he left, much criticized for the excessive training load and for having barred several known players from the starting lineup, he left the celestial team in the runner-up of the Brazilian Championship and with a negative sequence of four defeats and a draw.

Palm trees (May to September 2014)

Ricardo Gareca, when he was coach of Palmeiras - Eduardo Anizelli/Folhapress - Eduardo Anizelli/Folhapress
Image: Eduardo Anizelli/Folhapress

Before starting a long and successful work ahead of the Peru team (he qualified for the 2018 Russia Cup and plays on Monday to also play in the Qatar World Cup), the Argentine “helped” Palmeiras to almost be relegated to Série B do Brasileiro. In 2014, Gareca was introduced to the alviverde fans as a differentiated coach, someone capable of making the alviverde team not only win, but also practice offensive and engaging football. In fact, the team led by the Argentine even played forward, but almost always lost: there were nine defeats in 12 rounds of the Brasileirão. In addition to the lack of results, Gareca also left as a “legacy” to Palmeiras his four compatriots that he indicated as reinforcements: Fernando Tobio, Pablo Mouche, Agustín Allione and Jonatan Cristaldo. Despite the determination on the field shown by the latter, who became a kind of alternative idol of the fans, none of them really worked at the club.

Ahtletico-PR (January and March 2006)

Lothar Matthaus was coach of Athletico Paranaense in 2006 - Transmissão Globoesporte - Transmissão Globoesporte
Image: Globoesporte broadcast

Captain of Germany in the conquest of the third world championship, in Italy-1990, the former player has always had an erratic career on the bench. Matthäus was even a Serbian champion with Partizan Belgrade (2003) and Austria with Red Bull Salzburg (2007), but he has always been divided between the careers of coach and sports commentator – he hasn’t managed a team for over a decade. Even with this curriculum full of holes, it was the bet of the board of Athletico-PR for the 2006 season. The experience lasted only two months. Although he was undefeated here in Brazil (six wins and two draws), Matthäus decided to leave the black-and-white club after his wife threatened him with a divorce if he continued his adventure in Curitiba and did not return to Germany.

Santos (January to August 2020)

Jesualdo Ferreira guides Santos during a match against Defensa y Justicia for Libertadores 2020 - JUAN MABROMATA / AFP - JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

Three times Portuguese champion with Porto and also with spells at Benfica and Sporting, Jesualdo is a kind of dean of the coaches of our former metropolis. And, after Jorge Jesus exploded in Flamengo, it was Santos’ choice to try to face the red-black team. The problem is that the more conservative style of play defended by the veteran Portuguese coach did not match the traditionally offensive and daring DNA of the club from Baixada Santista. To the surprise of very few people, the marriage did not bear positive fruit. And Santos decided to fire its coach just three matches after football returned from a four-month stoppage due to the covid-19 pandemic, shortly after being eliminated by Ponte Preta in the quarterfinals of Paulista.

Atlético-MG (January to February 2020)

Rafael Dudamel, Atlético-MG coach, during a match against Afogados-PE - Bruno Cantini / Agência Galo / Atlético - Bruno Cantini / Agência Galo / Atlético
Image: Bruno Cantini / Agência Galo / Atlético

The Atlético-MG team that was the Brazilian champion last year was not born in 2021. A season before, the alvinegra board was already investing heavily to assemble a squad capable of fighting for the biggest titles in dispute. Originally, the coach chosen to lead this project was Dudamel, who had had good results with the Venezuelan national team. But the Minas Gerais club didn’t have much patience to find out if the former goalkeeper was really the right man to lead Atlético-MG to great things. It only took one elimination for the very modest Afogados da Ingazeira, from Pernambuco, in the Copa do Brasil, for Dudamel’s work of just over a month to be finished.

Botafogo (5th to 27th of November 2020)

  Ramon Díaz was introduced as Botafogo's new coach - Reproduction/Twitter - Reproduction/Twitter
Image: Playback/Twitter

Champion of Libertadores-1996 with River Plate, the Argentine is the foreign coach with the most surreal history in Brazilian football. Díaz was hired by Botafogo in early November 2020 and ended up being fired 22 days later, without even making his debut in charge of the team. It’s just that Díaz needed to undergo thyroid surgery shortly after he was announced by the Brazilian club. Initially, Botafogo gave full support to its employee and promised that it would wait for his full recovery. But that’s not what happened. Upon learning that the coach would be hospitalized for longer than the originally estimated period, the alvinegra board decided to send him away without any match (or even training) in the curriculum.

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