With Dunga being released from his contract following Brazil’s disappointing quarter-final exit from the World Cup at the hands of the Netherlands, there has already been a huge amount of speculation as to who will succeed him at the helm of the Selecao. Today Globo reported that the CBF is working from a list of five candidates, coaches whom the federation sees as suitable for what is one of football’s most prestigious – and pressurised – jobs.
We’ve taken a look at the quintet of candidates and assessed the relative pros and cons of each as the CBF begin their decision-making process:
Luiz Felipe Scolari – Having guided Brazil to their most recent World Cup triumph in 2002, Scolari would almost certainly be enthusiastically welcomed back by the Brazilian public should he return as manager of the national side. However, a recently-signed two-year contract with Palmeiras means that he is unlikely to succeed Dunga, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could take the reigns following the 2011 Copa America if Brazil fail to impress.
Mano Menezes – The current Corinthians coach has enjoyed a fruitful time at the Estadio do Pacaembu in recent seasons, leading the Todo Poderoso to the Brazilian Serie B title in 2008 before guiding the team to success in both the Campeonato Paulista and Copa do Brasil the following year. Menezes also revived the fortunes of Gremio between 2005 and 2007, establishing himself as one of Brazil’s most astute young managers (he is still only 48) in the process. Menezes will almost certainly go on to manage his country at some time in the future, but whether or not now is the right time for him is open to debate.
Muricy Ramalho – With a career spanning 14 clubs and 17 years, Fluminense boss Muricy Ramalho certainly has the experience under pressure that the CBF are looking for. Between 2006 and 2009 Ramalho’s Sao Paulo team won the Brazilian Championship three seasons consecutively but he was dismissed as a result of the club’s perceived failures in the Copa Libertadores. Although seemingly the ideal candidate to coach the Selecao, Ramalho only joined Fluminense in April and is unlikely to want to leave his new club so soon after arriving.
Ricardo Gomes – Ramalho’s replacement at Sao Paulo, Ricardo Gomes has been a coach since 1996 and has held some big jobs over the last 14 years including posts at Paris Saint-Germain, Flamengo, Bordeaux and Monaco. Despite not having enjoyed consistent success during his managerial career, Gomes did take the Brazilian U23 team to the final of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup and demonstrated an ability to work with young players that could swing the CBF’s decision in his favour. Of those on the shortlist, Gomes may not be the most popular selection amongst the Brazilian public, but the Sao Paulo coach has the experience and many of the attributes that the CBF are rumoured to be looking for.
Leonardo – The youngest coach on the shortlist, 40 year-old Leonardo left his managerial post at Milan at the end of last season and is – alongside Scolari – the current favourite to replace Dunga. Although he publicly claimed that he was intending to spend a couple of years out of football, it is thought that the opportunity to manage his country would be enough to bring the former Valencia player out of self-imposed exile. An astute man with experience both as a coach and behind the scenes as a technical director, Leonardo’s passion for attractive, expansive football could well make him the most appealing option for the CBF as they embark upon their search for a new manager.