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Mano Menezes


Luiz Antônio Venker Menezes, Mano Menezes.

He was born in June 11, 1962, in Passo do Sobrado, State of Rio Grande do Sul. He graduated in Physical Education, is married, and has a daughter. He started his footballing career as a player, then he started as a coach in 1992, coaching amateur rosters of teams from Rio Grande do Sul.

He debuted as a head coach of professional teams in 1997 and, in 2002, he won his first title. In that year, he won the Campeonato Gaúcho [Rio Grande do Sul State Championship] with Guarani from Venâncio Aires, a club from a country town in Rio Grande do Sul. In 2004, coaching the team 15 de Novembro, he finished 3rd in Copa do Brasil [Brazil Cup], with a winning campaign, which led him later to coach Caxias, then Grêmio.

He made history coaching Grêmio. He brought the team back to Série A of the Campeonato Brasileiro [Brazilian Championship] in 2005, in a match that became known as "the Battle of Aflitos". Then, Grêmio beat Náutico with only seven players in the match.

In the next year, he won the title of Campeonato Gaúcho, and finished 3rd in the Campeonato Brasileiro, qualifying the team to play the Copa Libertadores de América. In 2007, he led Grêmio to a back-to-back win in the Campeonato Gaúcho and to the Copa Libertadores finals.

After a winning track record coaching gaúcho teams, Mano Menezes took on a new challenge in Série B of the Campeonato Brasileiro, namely, leading Corinthians back to the Brazilian soccer top tier. Much to the joy of Corinthians loyal fans, the expected outcome was achieved, and the team won Série B of 2008 Campeonato Brasileiro, ensuring the promotion to Série A. He won two major titles in 2009: undefeated São Paulo State champion and Copa do Brasil champion.

In July 23, 2010, after leading Corinthians [a.k.a. Timão] for 10 weeks of the Campeonato Brasileiro, Mano was invited to coach the Brazilian national team, in a project targeting Copa do Mundo [FIFA World Cup] 2014. In July 24, he was confirmed as the new skipper.

After two and a half years coaching the team, having won two titles in the Super Clássicos das Américas [Super Derby of the Americas] and the silver medal in Jogos Olímpicos de Londres 2012 [2012 London Summer Olympic Games], Mano Menezes stepped down on November 23, 2012.

After a break of approximately six months, Menezes was hired to coach Flamengo on June 17, 2013. Little more than three months later, on September 19, at his own decision, Menezes resigned.

In 2014, Menezes returned to Corinthians, after four years, with the major challenge of revamping the roster. With a positive balance and the goal reached, Corinthians ended the year qualified to next year's Copa Libertadores [Libertadores Cup].

Menezes spent the first half of 2015 in Europa, taking a coaching skills course by UEFA and, after returning to Brazil, he accepted the challenge of leading Cruzeiro Esporte Clube for the Campeonato Brasileiro.

The coach chased away the risk of relegation, leading the team from Minas Gerais to the eighth spot after 16 matches – the longest winning streak of the championship that year. After the tournament ended, Menezes signed up with Shandong Luneng, from China.

Menezes coached the Chinese team for six months and, during this short – but busy – time span, he made a historical contribution, leading the team to the long wished for qualification to the quarterfinals of AFC Champions League.

In the second half of 2016, the coach returned to skip Cruzeiro. In 2017, he started the season with a winning streak of over 20 matches, completed 100 matches ahead of the team, and won the 50th match as the team's skipper. In September that year, as a result of the continuity of a well-planned job, he won the title of Copa do Brasil.

2018 has started as a grateful year to the coach and also to Cruzeiro’s fans. The team coached by Mano reached, in late April, the title of Campeonato Mineiro. Since then, the team has headed its attention to three competitions: Campeonato Brasileiro, Copa do Brasil and Copa Libertadores da América. As a result of hardworking and a lot of dedication, the coach has won Copa do Brasil again, leading Cruzeiro to its sixth title of the competition, and becoming the second biggest champion of this title with three thophies as a coach.

In 2019, Mano remained in charge of Cruzeiro, became the longest-running coach of Serie A and won his second Campeonato Mineiro title after an undefeated campaign. In August, he left Cruzeiro and, after less than a month, took charge of Palmeiras, with the challenge of recovering the team, which was at a low level in the Brazilian Championship. In just under three months, he took the team out of fifth place to qualify for the Libertadores group stage, leaving Verdão in third place in the championship.

In September 2020, after a few months off in his career, the coach took on the challenge of training Esporte Clube Bahia, which had been in a delicate situation in the Brazilian Championship. After a good run, the team ended up eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Copa Sudamericana and failed to pass the middle of the Brasileirão table. In December of the same year, coach and club reached an agreement to terminate the contract.

In April 2021, another opportunity to work abroad came up. Mano was announced as coach of Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. Besides the culture, achieving good campaigns at the Saudi Professional League and AFC Championship was the challenge to the Brazilian coach.

Five months later, Mano left the club with seven wins, one tie and three defeats, putting Al-Nassr in sixth at Saudi Professional League and qualifying to quarterfinals at continental tournament. In eleven matches, Mano had got 60 percent of total disputed points.