Corinthians tries to match Fla without having to go through years of trouble

Tomorrow’s duel (2) for the quarterfinals of Libertadores pits not only two of the biggest clubs in Brazil, but also two different forms of administration. On the one hand, a Flamengo who accepted to spend years of trouble until he relieved the bills; on the other hand, a Corinthians that tries to avoid the big sacrifice in finances and take a shortcut to reach the national rival.

When Flamengo tightened its belts on its finances, in 2013, Corinthians was the then world champion. Eduardo Bandeira de Mello took office at Rubro-Negro, implemented a strict austerity policy and faced a lot of internal and fan resistance, after all, the custom until then was to spend a lot — and often poorly. With the new board, the norm became to spend only what you could spend.

At the time, Flamengo’s debt was R$750 million. Corinthians owed only 25% of this, around R$ 194 million, and saw room to do the opposite: spend more and more. While Fla sought agreements with the Treasury and paid its installments religiously, Alvinegro invested heavily to try to continue disputing titles.

Interestingly, both clubs won titles in 2013: Flamengo raised an unexpected Copa do Brasil under the baton of Hernane Brocador and Elias; while Corinthians won Paulistão and Recopa in the wake of the previous historic year. The difference from one to the other was the cost of each cup.

Even with limited teams, Bandeira did not give in to pressure for reinforcements. Flamengo only felt safe to “dare” again in signings in 2015, with Paolo Guerrero, but not even then abandoned the tune of austerity. Corinthians, on the other hand, held back its momentum in Roberto de Andrade’s management and kept the debt stable for four years. In 2017, for example, both clubs had debts very close, between R$ 400 and 450 million.

In 2019, Rodolfo Landim assumed the presidency of Flamengo to taste the “filet” after the “gnawed bone” by his predecessor, and the club lived a magical year, with Brasileirão and Libertadores. It was in this very season that Andrés Sanchez’s Corinthians lost control of finances, then was hit by the pandemic and in two years practically doubled its debt.

The latest Flamengo annual balance sheet reported a total debt of BRL 604 million, about 60% of the club’s impressive 2021 revenue (BRL 1 billion). At Corinthians, the accounts are the opposite: the debt has already exceeded one billion, while last year’s billing was R$500 million.

Alvinegro comes from three consecutive semesters in the blue and with an important agreement signed with Caixa to pay for its stadium, two positive points, but the effort of the management of Duílio Monteiro Alves does not amount to a revolution à la Bandeira de Mello. On the field, where numbers matter little or nothing, Corinthians and Flamengo play at 9:30 pm (Brasília time) tomorrow, at Neo Química Arena.

Vagner Love, from cutting costs to enhancing luxury

A remarkable episode of Bandeira’s austerity that impacted fans, managers and the press in 2013 was the decision not to renew Vagner Love, Flamengo’s main player at the time, but which cost R$1 million per month. The repercussion was bad, but the decision ended up being symbolic of the mentality of that new board.

After two seasons abroad, Love returned to Brazil to be the number 9 shirt for Corinthians and was instrumental in winning the 2015 Brasileirão. .

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