Brazil soccer coach Mano Menezes criticized Flamengo’s decision to fire coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo this Thursday, less than a day after Flamengo qualified for the group stages of the Copa Libertadores by beating Real Potosi 2-0. Menezes pointed to a disturbing trend in domestic Brazilian football to fire managers for a string of poor results without allowing them the ability to develop deeper and more enduring relationships with players, club management and fans. The Selecao coach cited his stint at Gremio from 2005 to 2007 and Corinthians from 2008 to 2010 and Muricy Ramalho’s tenure at Santos as exceptions to the rule of the merry-go-round in Brazilian football. Former Flamengo coach Joel Santana is the favorite to take over Luxemburgo’s position. Santana coached Flamengo from 2007 to 2008 before coaching hosts South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Santana has been coaching Brazilian club Bahia since September but reportedly resigned on Thursday, around the time of Flamengo's decision regarding Luxemburgo. Speaking of the decision to part ways with Luxemburgo, Flamengo President Patricia Amorin remarked: "We listened to the opinions of the players, the fans and saw this was the right moment to make changes. We spoke with Luxemburgo and we understood how difficult the atmosphere was. The conclusion from that meeting was to dismiss the coach."
Luxemburgo is widely believed to have been forced out of Flamengo because of his deteriorating relationship with Ronaldinho, whom he accused of entertaining a female companion at a Flamengo training camp in Londrina, against club rules. Ronaldinho responded to Luxemburgo’s accusations by saying he would stay with Flamengo only if Luxemburgo left the club. Luxemburgo was fired less than a day after Flamengo secured a dramatic victory over Real Potosi due to goals by Leo Moura and Ronaldinho. Ronaldinho took the free kick that led to the first goal by Leo Moura and scored Flamengo’s second goal in injury time by dribbling past a defender and slotting the ball through the keeper's legs. Flamengo defeated Real Potosi 3-2 in aggregate to qualify for the group stage of the Copa Libertadores.