PZA: When we spoke in February of Paulo Sousa, who was in charge of the Polish team, the PZPN authorities advised to be patient and give the new selector more time. So is the relationship. Meanwhile, the coach quit ahead of schedule and abruptly. What do you think about pushing Sousa to leave Poland and switch to Flamengo? In his first statements he talked about the “size of the club” and being incomparable to others…
Julius Caesar: Yes, Flamengo is a great club, with good infrastructure and financial stability. It also has many loyal fans who are desperately seeking fans.
How do you rate Souza’s chances as a Flamengo coach? Can he handle the new team?
– It will be a very difficult task for him. First of all, this is no longer the team that won the Copa Libertadores in 2019. The current team looks tired and worn out. There was no freshness and taste every two years. He has some very experienced players, but they are nearing the end of their career. But the difficulty for Sousa is that his announcement as coach coincided with the departure of coach Jorge Jesus from Benfica Lisbon. For him, envoys of the Brazilian club went to Portugal in December. But they are back with someone else, which many Flamengo fans can’t get over.
Jorge Jesus worked in Rio de Janeiro for only one year, Sousa signed a two-year contract. Will your former team-mate at Borussia Dortmund live until the end of the contract?
– It will only depend on the performance of the team. Time will tell. He will surely be subjected to a lot of pressure from the fans. They will expect from him the results that Jesus gave them between June 2019 and July 2020. In the meantime, this was the best in the history of the Flamingo.
Under Jesus’ leadership, the club achieved almost everything to win: the Brazilian Championship and the Super Cup, the Rio de Janeiro State Championship, the Recopa Sudamericana Cup and the very prestigious Copa Libertadores. What prizes can Flamengo count on under Sousa’s leadership?
– It’s hard to say. It is known that the fans of the club have very high hopes and ambitions. They are angry that Jesus has not returned to the club. Now they are thinking: since the club’s envoys went to Portugal and signed Sousa, not Jesus, the former should be really good. So the requirements for a new coach are going to be really, really high.
Flamingo activists are wrong in the dispute with Christ? Maybe they made a deal with Souza in a hurry?
Jesus was the main culprit in all this confusion. After all, before Flamengo made an agreement with the current Polish coach, Jesus could have given them a signal and told them to wait. He did not, and Flamengo is a club too big to wait for a hardworking coach to respond.
How do you evaluate Paulo Sousa’s decision to terminate the contract with the Polish representation?
– I don’t understand what was Paulo’s motive when he decided to leave the Polish coaching bench. I will not do that.
But you yourself said that Flamengo is a great club…
– …just as it is a big thing to lead a team that is fighting for promotion to the World Cup. The qualification won by Sousa will give real applause and a good reputation all over the world. After all, it is the biggest spherical event.
How do you think Souza will be seen in the world of football now, after the sudden termination of his contract with Poland?
– It all depends on the first encounters under him. There are still some proven players at Flamengo who have won titles with Jesus, but it is not known at what level they will be under Sousa. If he succeeds, fans will accept that their coach is not Jorge Jesus. The football world will forget what Souza did when he terminated his contract with the Polish Federation. This is a condition.
Some Portuguese journalists believe that leaving the Polish national team will not have a significant impact on Paulo Sousa’s career. This is correct?
– I do not completely agree with this opinion. Many people will not quickly forget it. Robert Lewandowski and many other Polish footballers have expressed their discontent on social media. The case was widely publicized, not only in the countries concerned.
How is contract termination seen in world football in Brazil?
– Not a repeater. After all, Jorge Jesus himself in 2020, shortly after signing the contract with Flamengo, left this club and returned to Benfica Lisbon.
Fans forgive him while they are still waiting for his return?
– I think the vast majority of Flamengo fans have already forgiven Jesus, which can be seen on social media. Let’s just remember that this coach was exceptional and in a very short time he did a lot with the team for this club.
How do fans view Paulo Sousa in Brazil?
– They don’t know him. This is a completely unknown person to them. This does not mean, however, that it is without a chance. Abel Ferreira was equally unknown. This young Portuguese coach won the Copa del Rey and the Copa Libertadores from Palmeiras in his first season. His team recently made a comeback in this final cup.
So, success justifies not keeping contracts in sport?
– The rivalry and the practices of modern football are becoming more brutal. I do not agree with that. I think contracts are supposed to be fulfilled. I am amazed by Paulo Sousa because overnight he gave up on the Polish national team.
Do you think he will be able to settle into Brazilian football?
– He is Portuguese and I can’t imagine that he will spend the next decades on coaching benches in Brazilian clubs. He will stay here for some time, and after that he will probably want to return to Europe, because that is where the best clubs in the world are.
I said that participating in the World Cup for a coach is a great prestige. You yourself successfully played for Brazil in the 1986 World Cup. After leaving the group, you ran into Poland, defeating them 4-0. Was the white and red team at that time better than the current team?
Today you have great football potential in your team. There is Robert Lewandowski and a few world class players. Personally, I think you have a good chance of being promoted to the World Cup. Russia, the Czech Republic and Sweden are not first-class teams, and defeating them does not exceed the potential of the Polish team.
Announcer: Marcin Zatika
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