One of the great names of the current squad of Corinthians, the experienced Renato Augusto enters the field tonight (19) in search of the second title of the Copa do Brasil of his career. Fate wanted this opportunity to happen at Maracanã, the stage where the then newly promoted youth from Flamengo’s base felt this taste for the first time, 16 years ago. Now, he finds the club that revealed him defending the Timão shirt.
The expression “play at home” almost makes literal sense to Timão’s number 8 shirt. He grew up in Tijuca, a neighborhood in the north of Rio de Janeiro, and was next door to the stadium that will host the big decision soon, at 9:45 pm (GMT). The relationship is even marked on the skin. The player has Maracanã – where he was also an Olympic champion – tattooed on his right arm.
Created from the base of Rubro-Negro, Renato Augusto left the stands for the Maracanã lawn to conquer Brazil shortly after reaching the professional squad, in a story that goes through names like Kleber Leite, then vice president of football, and coach Ney Franco.
Renato arrived in Gávea in 2001, for the under-13. In 2005, he had a few minutes on the field during the Brazilian. His debut in the main team was, precisely, against Corinthians, when he entered the second half and played for just over 10 minutes – he would still face Athetico-PR, in the next round of the Brasileiro, in the same way.
He returned to the base and, as a fan, saw Fla eliminate Ipatinga in the semifinal of the Copa do Brasil the following year. Little did he know, however, that his career and that of the Minas Gerais team coach would cross paths very soon.
“I always liked to follow the base divisions and I was delighted with a player who, in this category, played with the number 10 shirt. At that time, the kids were preliminary to the main team. We managed to get out of the choke in 2005 and, finally, life started again in 2006. The Neymar [Franco] was hired because we thought we needed a turnaround, he was doing very well”, remembers Kleber Leite, former president and former vice-president of Football at the club from Gávea.
“We had two months of training because, between the semifinal and the final, which would be against Vasco, we had the World Cup. There was time to work. An excursion was made to the North-Northeast. I arrived at Ney and asked how many players we were going to take it. He replied that it would be 20. I said: ‘let’s do the following: you take 20 and I take one. Do you agree?’ (laughs) I said that I really wanted him to observe a player that few people knew, and he said that there was no problem. It was Renato Augusto, who I already knew from watching the base games. Renato Augusto went with him as observation and came back in charge”, he adds.
Change to final
Ney Franco started the 2006 season in charge of Ipatinga, when he was runner-up in the Campeonato Mineiro and reached the semifinals of the Copa do Brasil, being eliminated by Flamengo. The work attracted attention and he ended up being hired by Rubro-Negro himself, and took the vacancy that until then belonged to Waldemar Lemos.
The coach arrived at Fla at the end of May, with some more immediate pending issues. One of them was the preparation for the final of the Copa do Brasil, and the other was to observe deficiencies in the squad.
“After the semi-final, there was a break for the World Cup. [na Alemanha]. During this period, we breathed the Copa do Brasil and mobilized the club. I had assumed a little earlier. At the time, Flamengo was in need of a midfielder, and we looked at the market. But, for the final of the Copa do Brasil, I could not enter [novos jogadores]. The first time I heard about Renato Augusto was through Kleber Leite. He suggested that I look at Renato Augusto, who was a boy from the base”, says Ney Franco.
The coach recalls that the youngster stood out in training and conquered space in the team. For the decision against rival Vasco, Ney Franco even opted for a tactical change.
“We went to Manaus and I put Renato on the list. He started training with me, got into a friendly game and went well. What drew the most attention, besides the technical quality, was the emotional maturity. He was already prepared for an opportunity. Of course, at the beginning of everything, I didn’t imagine using him in a final of the Copa do Brasil, but he developed so much, adapted well to the group and started to stand out in training. and, in the final, I changed the way the team played, from a 4-4-2 to a 3-6-1. I put Renato as that midfielder. He played two good games in the final, and we were champions. The following year, he it was also very important in Carioca. So, it was that kind of release that worked (laughs)”, he points out.
shirt 10 and friendship
It was up to Kleber Leite to warn that Renato would play that final and with the jersey number 10. “He didn’t know. I was almost halfway there and I told him. [de Manaus]… Player is very sensitive, and he came back already knowing what place he would occupy. I had the pleasure of saying that to him.”
When talking about the midfielder, the former Flamengo leader does not hide the affection they have for each other, and he also praises the family. “He is a very special human being, who comes from a very special family. Salete, his mother, is a lovely, extraordinary figure who fought a lot for him. He is the union of a wonderful human being with the talent that Father from heaven gave”.
“I haven’t talked to him yet, only after the game (laughs). But they are different passions, the one I have for him, as a human figure, and my definitive passion for Flamengo. But I always talk to him and I’m really rooting for him”, he adds. .
The 2006 title was Flamengo’s second in the Copa do Brasil — they had won it in 1990 and later also won it in 2013. Ney Franco recalls some points that were part of that title.
“I made a change because I had two full-backs, Léo Moura and Juan, who were very supportive. So I set up a scheme because I needed to explore that. Something very interesting was also the work of the medical department for Luizão’s recovery, who was coming from an injury. He played in the final and scored the second goal in the first game”, he recalls.
“I think that this Copa do Brasil boosted Flamengo’s need to use the training center. I remember that we trained in Gávea, and I went to Ninho do Urubu, which was only used by the base, I got to know the fields. had the same quality as Gávea, but it was a place where we could have closed training. I wanted to change the way the team played and, at the time, it was very difficult to have a closed training. Ninho. And it was interesting because I made adjustments to the team, and, oddly enough, there was not even a suggestion for a lineup. That was an important detail”, he emphasizes.
Champion in Corinthians
After spending time at Bayer Leverkusen, in Germany, between 2008 and 2012, Renato Augusto arrived at Corinthians in 2013. At Parque São Jorge, he was champion of the 2013 Paulista, the 2013 South American Recopa and the 2015 Brazilian. China, where he played for Beijing Guoan, and returned to Timão last year.
FLAMENGO x CORINTHIANS
Competition: Copa do Brasil, return game from the final
Date and time: October 19, 2022, at 21:45 (Brasília time)
Place: Maracanã Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
Referee: Wilton Pereira Sampaio (Fifa/GO)
Assistants: Bruno Raphael Pires (Fifa/GO) and Bruno Boschilia (Fifa/PR)
VAR: Pablo Ramon Goncalves Pinheiro (VAR-Fifa/RN)
FLAMENGO: Saints; Rodinei, David Luiz, Léo Pereira and Filipe Luís; Thiago Maia, Vidal, Everton Ribeiro and Arrascaeta; Peter and Gabriel. Technician: Dorival Jr
CORINTHIANS: Cassius; Fagner, Balbuena, Gil and Fábio Santos; Du Queiroz, Fausto Vera and Renato Augusto; Adson, Róger Guedes and Yuri Alberto. Technician: Victor Pereira