The rebirth of ‘Magician’ Scolari on the bench

08/15/2022 at 22:21


Luis Felipe Scolari celebrates 40 years as a coach with a historic record in the Copa Libertadores

He is taking Athletico Paranaense very high, the twenty-second team of his long career

At 73 years of age, Luiz Felipe Scolari has made history in the top team competition in South America, the Copa Libertadores. He is the first coach to have qualified for the semi-finals for the sixth time of a tournament that he has won twice, with Gremio de Porto Alegre in 1995 and with Palmeiras four years later.

The ‘Wizard’ is going through a second youth on the bench at the head of Athletico Paranaense, a team that became the twenty-second of his long professional career -he has been training for 40 years- and to which he arrived last May to help find to a trainer and go to the offices. But there he is, where he likes the most. Only three months later, Curitiba dreams not only of the Libertadores -where they will face the current champion, Palmeiras-, but also in the Copa do Brasil. This Wednesday, the Arena da Baixada will be a pressure cooker in the semi-final second leg against Flamengo.

Fernandinho, their leader

The former Manchester City player, 37, is in charge of transferring Felipao’s ideas to the green. On the other hand, the coach is not counting so much this season on the former Barça player Matheus Fernandes, who did have many minutes in his first months. Scolari is, above all, a motivator, he takes great care of all the details and strikes a chord with the footballer, like when he trained the Portuguese national team and explained to them the financial problems and the sacrifice that many of the fans made to pay for a ticket and not they could let you down.

Precisely, his contract with Portugal was one of the reasons that stopped his arrival at Barça in 2004, two years after winning the seven-time championship for Brazil. Sandro Rosell, with whom he has a very good friendship, fought to take him to the Camp Nou as a substitute for Frank Rijkaard. It did not happen and years later came the setback of 7-1 against Germany. But he has risen, he is a football ‘hard worker’, even in destinations as exotic as Uzbekistan or Kuwait. His only European foray was at Chelsea, but it lasted only a few months. Now, he has been ‘reborn’ on the bench.

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