Paulo Sousa was chosen by Flamengo’s board to be the coach in 2022. After attempts with Jorge Jesus and Carlos Carvalhal did not work out, the Rio club bet on another Portuguese. At the age of 51, the former coach of the Polish national team paid the costs of a 320,000-euro release clause, about R$2 million at the current price, in order to coach Flamengo.
As an athlete, Paulo played for eight clubs, in the best European competitions, and for the Portuguese national team. At 19, he started his career at Benfica, playing as a midfielder. There, he played for four years and was national champion, of the Primeira Liga, in the 1990-91 season and of the Portuguese Cup, the following year. After contractual differences, he changed the team from Águias to Porto, generating a lot of controversy because they were rivals.
With a quick stint in Porto, Paulo Sousa was hired by Juventus, the club in which he was champion more times and where he stood out on the international scene. In Italian football, he was champion of the Champions League, Italian Super Cup, Serie A and Coppa Italia.
From Turin to Dortmund, Sousa continued to collect titles and became a two-time champion of the Champions League with Borussia, an unprecedented feat at the time. Two years later, he returned to Italy to play for Inter Milan, the former team’s rival club. Living with injuries, he became less prominent in European football. With spells at Parma, Panathinaikos and Espanyol, he ended his career in 2002, after playing in the World Cup.
As a coach, he started his career in 2005 with Portugal’s youth team, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he started in professional football. In England, Sousa was ahead of Queens Park Rangers, Swansea City (Wales) and Leicester.
In 2011, the Portuguese coach commanded Videoton, from Hungary, currently Fehérvár, and became champion of the Hungarian Cup and twice of the Hungarian Super Cup, having the best moment of his career. After these feats, Sousa went to Israel to face the challenge of managing Maccabi Tel Aviv, the club with which he was national champion. Soon after, he was signed by Basel, Switzerland, and won the Swiss Super League.
He stopped collecting titles. He had stints in Fiorentina, from Italy, Tianjin Quanjian, from China, and Bordeaux, from France. The Portuguese’s last job was the Polish team, led by striker Robert Lewandowski.
The Portuguese has been in Rio de Janeiro training Rubro-Negro for over two weeks and already has a debut date. Flamengo will face Portuguesa-RJ, next Wednesday (26) at 21:35, in a match valid for the Campeonato Carioca.
In February, he already has his first cup dispute under his command. Flamengo will play in the Supercopa do Brasil, with Atlético-MG, a game between the two-time champion of the tournament and the current Brazilian and Copa do Brasil champion.