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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flamengo Hires Joel Santana As Coach To Replace Luxemburgo

Joel Santana has assumed the position of coach of Flamengo for the fifth time in his career after Flamengo fired Vanderlei Luxemburgo late last week. Luxemburgo was fired after he became embroiled in a battle of words with Flamengo’s star midfielder, Ronaldinho, related to the latter’s alleged discipline problems and love of the nightlife. The 63 year old Santana was widely expected to take over as coach of Flamengo after he resigned as coach of the Brazilian club Bahia last Thursday, on precisely the day Luxemburgo was fired.

Santana was announced and introduced to Flamengo on Monday. He returns to Flamengo with the objective of reintroducing harmony between the players and the position of coach. In a press conference, Santana pledged to give Ronaldinho the freedom and respect befitting a player of his caliber, adding that Dinho could play anywhere he wanted on the field:
"Ronaldinho is the team's star, idol and he'll settle games for us. He's talented and knows how to play, the quality of this kid is impressive. When you buy a rare piece you have to put it in the best place in the house. He'll play where he feels best. If he wants to be on the left we'll put him there, if he prefers the right, he'll go to that sector. Is he in the middle? Then he'll play in the middle."
Santana delivered his remarks just days after Ronaldinho scored a thrilling injury time goal against Bolivian team Real Potosi to clinch Flamengo’s qualification for the group stages of the Copa Libertadores with an aggregate 3-2 victory. According to Flamengo director Paulo Coutinho, Santana has already set his sights on winning the Copa Libertadores with Flamengo and is considering multiple reinforcements to the existing team.

Santana most recently coached Flamengo from 2007 to 2008 before coaching hosts South Africa for the 2010 World Cup and then assuming a position at Bahia. Brazil 1982 Word Cup star Paulo Falcao takes over the helm at Bahia from Santana in his first coaching stint since being fired from Internacional in July.

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