Monday, January 17, 2005


bringing in 2 very experienced football experts, real are betting on their expertise to turn things around their poor form.

sacchi led ac milan to two european cups and one league title before taking over as national coach in 1991. his side were eventually beaten in the final of the 1994 world cup final in the usa by brazil after a penalty shoot out. you guys should remember the roberto baggio super high kick.

luxemburgo took over after france '98 and his first words in charge were: "I come with the certainty that I will be successful." under him, santos won its second Brazilian championship in three years earlier this month. the 52-year-old has won the title a record five times , also with palmeiras in 1993 and '94, corinthians in 1998 and cruzeiro last year.

he talked about his "macro plan". he gave the impression of an ego on the loose, trying too hard to impress. handling the stars of european football is new territory for luxemburgo. It will be fascinating to see whether he can stand up to the test.

although he won the 1999 copa america, he never looked happy in a job that tests the character of the man more than the quality of the coach. some of his selections were craven attempts to get the press on his side. even at his worst, though, he was usually capable of improving the side with shrewd substitutions. luxemburgo claims that he is a calmer, more mature figure these days.

and, in domestic Brazilian football at least, he has a consistent record of producing teams that win in style. he has got the best out of the likes of rivaldo and edmundo (at palmeiras), freddy rincon (Corinthians), alex at cruzeiro and robinho at santos. his time with flamengo and the national team was somewhat overshadowed by his fall out with romario, but luxemburgo is far from the only coach who found the little man too hot to handle.

handling the stars of european football, though, is new territory. brazilian club sides are not the multilingual, multicultural melting pot of contemporary european football. adjustments will have to be made to the methods of motivation and team building that luxemburgo has used so far.
there will be no lack of effort on his part, and no lack of talent. But it will be fascinating to see whether he can stand up to the test of character.

his first signing, thomas gravesen from everton is a surprise even to me! will gravesen fill the gap left behind by makelele? early this morning, he got his debut halfway into the second half. i was unfortunate not to see him play. but hopefully, these two greats of football will solve real's bad form. italian + brazilian influence......hope it will be interesting.


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