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Dorival Junior leaves Sao Paulo to coach Brazil: A 'dream' come true


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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Sao Paulo coach Dorival Junior announced his departure to take charge of Brazil’s national team, the club said Sunday.

The Brazilian soccer confederation, known as the CBF, did not immediately confirm the appointment. But a CBF source told The Associated Press on Friday that Junior was going to receive an offer to replace the fired Fernando Diniz. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it.

Sao Paulo’s statement about the move included comments by the 61-year-old Junior.

"This is a personal dream coming true, which was only possible because I had recognition for the work I did at Sao Paulo," Junior said, according to the statement.

Sao Paulo president Júlio Casares said CBF’s invitation to Junior "is another piece of evidence we are on the right track."

The coach, who won the prestigious Copa Libertadores title with Flamengo in 2022, took Sao Paulo to its first Brazilian Cup trophy last year.

"I wish Dorival luck in his next challenge," Casares said.

CBF President Ednaldo Rodrigues had fired Diniz on Friday, saying he wanted to “advance the process of choice of a permanent coach.” Diniz, who was splitting his Brazil duties with coaching Fluminense, had a contract until days before Copa America starts in the United States in June.

Rodrigues had expected Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti to take the Brazil job. However, Ancelotti recently extended his contract at Madrid.

Earlier Sunday, Rodrigues refused to answer questions about Junior during the wake and funeral of Brazil World Cup great Mario Zagallo in Rio de Janeiro.

"Today is a day for Zagallo, nothing else," Rodrigues said.

Brazil’s next matches will be in March — friendlies against England and Spain in Europe.


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