Paulo Sousa leaves Poland job to take over as Flamengo manager
The Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa signed a deal to manage the Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo late on Wednesday, shortly after the Polish Football Association terminated his employment as national team coach.
Sousa had asked to be relieved of his duties with the Poland team earlier this week after getting an offer from the Brazilian top-flight club, a request the Polish FA president, Cezary Kulesza, had branded “extremely irresponsible”. However, Kulesza said on Wednesday the FA had taken the decision to part ways with the former Sporting and Benfica midfielder.
Hours later, Flamengo announced a two-year deal with Sousa. “This is a message for the biggest fanbase in the world,” Sousa said on Twitter. “It is with pride and satisfaction that I am to represent a club as incomparably great as Flamengo. It is time to work hard together to bring joy and trophies.”
Sousa, 51, had a contract with Poland until March. Appointed in January 2021, the former Juventus and Borussia Dortmund player oversaw a disappointing Euro 2020 where Poland crashed out in the first round, finishing last in their group with one point. However, Poland finished second in their World Cup qualifying group behind England and are in the play-offs, where they face Russia in March.
Sousa takes over at one of Brazil’s biggest and most successful clubs, albeit one regularly in flux. Sousa will be Flamengo’s fourth full-time coach in 18 months and replaces Renato Gaúcho, who left the side after they lost last month’s Copa Libertadores final to Palmeiras.
Domenec Torrent, Rogério Ceni and Renato Gaúcho have taken charge since the departure of the Portuguese manager Jorge Jesus in July 2020 but all left after short spells, buffeted by the long shadow of the victorious Jesus and the demands of a large fanbase.