Brazil hires Diniz as coach for 1 year, tabs Ancelotti to take over in 2024
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil has appointed a new national team coach. Sort of.
Fernando Diniz has been hired as head coach of Brazil’s national team on a 12-month contract that will be due to expire when Carlo Ancelotti’s deal with Real Madrid ends.
Executives at the Brazilian soccer confederation have indicated the intention is to wait a season and then bring in Ancelotti, the 64-year-old Italian coach, to lead the team into the 2026 World Cup.
The 49-year-old Fluminense coach Diniz will keep his job at the Rio de Janeiro club and join Brazil only for South American World Cup qualifiers. He takes over from Brazil U-20 team coach Ramon Menezes, who led the team into this year’s friendlies on an interim basis, losing two out of three matches.
Brazil is yet to appoint a long-term coach to replace Tite, who left the job after a quarterfinal loss to Croatia in the 2022 World Cup at Qatar.
Diniz, who in recent years has been praised by Brazil stars including Neymar and Thiago Silva, will be introduced in a news conference Wednesday at the Brazilian soccer confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.
“This is a dream for anyone, an honor and a huge pride to work for the national team,” Diniz said in a video release, wearing a Brazil jacket. “It is a joint operation of the Brazilian soccer confederation and Fluminense. I have the conviction that we have everything to take this one and make it work.”
The Brazilian soccer confederation said in a statement that the negotiations to hire Diniz were “silent and careful” so it did not interfere with his work at Fluminense. He’s renowned for a strategy that utilizes attacking teams that enjoy ball possession and building its game from the back.
Ednaldo Rodrigues, the chairman of the Brazilian soccer confederation, told TV Globo that Diniz, a favorite among players, will step in until Ancelotti joins. The Real Madrid coach has not confirmed any deal with Brazil so far.
Diniz’ “game plan is almost similar to that of the coach that will take over at Copa America, Ancelotti,” Rodrigues said. “We don’t call him an interim coach of the national team. He will come and make the transition in Brazil for Ancelotti.”
Copa America will be played in the United States from June 11 to July 19 next year. Until then, Diniz will coach Brazil for key World Cup qualifiers, including a home match against defending champion Argentina in November.
Brazil’s first match in World Cup qualifiers will be on Sept. 7 against Bolivia in home soil.