Flamengo, the most popular club in Brazil and champion of the League in 2019 and 2020, confirmed this Wednesday the hiring of Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa as its coach from January until 2023 after the Portuguese strategist terminated his contract as coach of Poland.
“Paulo Sousa is Flamengo’s new coach. The 51-year-old Portuguese signed a contract with the club for two seasons,” the Rio de Janeiro club announced in a message posted on their social networks. Sousa replaces the Brazilian Renato Gaúcho at Flamengo, fired this month before the end of the Brazilian Championship, after the defeat of the Carioca team in the final of the Copa Libertadores against the also Brazilian Palmeiras and before the mathematical impossibility of winning their third consecutive title League.
The leaders of the Rio de Janeiro club, as well as the fans, hope that Sousa will be a worthy successor to the also Portuguese Jorge Jesús -fired on the eve of Benfica-, one of the most successful coaches in recent years in the history of Flamengo, with the who was the Brazilian champion in two years and the Copa Libertadores in 2019.
The Brazilian team had already hinted that it had an agreement with the former Portuguese midfielder but had not yet confirmed the hiring due to waiting for negotiations with the leaders of the Polish federation. The Portuguese, without an agreement, ended up paying this Wednesday the value of the termination, of 300,000 euros, to be able to leave his position as coach of Poland, with which he was committed until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“We unanimously decided to terminate the contract with Paulo Sousa. As part of the agreement, the former coach will pay the compensation of the agreement with the expectations of the federation,” said the president of the Polish Football Federation, Cezary Kulesza, in a message on social networks . Flamengo recalled in his statement that Sousa began his career as a coach in 2005, when he assumed command of the Portuguese Under-16 team, of which he was in charge for almost three years, and that his first experience as a club coach was with the Queens Park Rangers English (2008).
He was also coach of the English Swansea (2009) and Leicester (2010), the Israeli Maccabi Tel Aviv (2013), the Swiss Basel (2014), the Italian Fiorentina (2015) and the French Bordeaux (2019). As a footballer, he started his career at Benfica (1989-1993) and went through Sporting, Juventus -where he was a teammate with Zinedine Zidane and won the European Champions League-, Borussia Dortmund -where he won another Champions League-, Inter Milan, Parma and Panathinaikos, and he retired from RCD Espanyol in 2002. At the national team level, in addition to having commanded the U16 in Portugal, he was also a member of the technical commission of his country’s senior team, with which he played twice in the European Championship. and the 2002 World Cup.