Jorge Jesus linked to Premier League after reaching hero status in Brazil

Jorge Jesus linked to Premier League after reaching hero status in Brazil

Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus is being treated like a hero in Rio de Janeiro after winning the Copa dos Libertadores – the South American equivalent of the Champions League – and the Brasileirão league in the span of two days at the helm of Brazilian club Flamengo.

The 65-year-old is enjoying unprecedented success and is being talked about all over the world, even being linked to a move to Premier League club Everton to replace Portuguese coach Marco Silva.

All it took JJ, as he is known affectionately in Portugal, was five months in charge of Flamengo to lead the club to its first Libertadores title since 1981 and only the second in its history.

The dramatic victory came on Saturday (November 23) at the cost of Argetina’s River Plate, which scored early in the first half and led for most of the game before ‘Gabigol’, who spent an unsuccessful six months with Benfica two seasons ago, completed a brace in the final minutes to steal the silverware from under their rivals’ noses.

It was only hours later, in the midst of their Libertadores celebrations, that Flamengo received the news that Palmeiras had lost at home against Grémio for the Brasileirão, meaning that Flamengo had also won the Brazilian league.

This double achievement has elevated Jorge Jesus to the status of hero in Rio de Janeiro, where he was named an “honorary citizen” on Monday.

It did not take long for rumours to surface linking him to a move back to Europe, with the most serious one naming him as a candidate to replace Marco Silva at Everton which is struggling at the lower end of the Premier League.

But before he makes any decisions regarding his future, Jorge Jesus is still expected to lead Flamengo at the Club World Cup which will take place in Qatar in December and which could see the Brazilian side facing Liverpool in the final.

“When I decided to come to Flamengo a lot of people didn’t agree with me, including my friends and my agent,” Jesus said.

“But I made my own decision to come without being influenced by others. If we win the Club World Cup, it will be the best year of my career,” he added.

Before moving to Brazil, Jorge Jesus had coached almost exclusively in Portugal. He won the Portuguese league three times with Benfica and led the club to two Europa League finals in a row, losing to Chelsea and Seville.

Jesus also won five Portuguese League Cups, one Portuguese Cup and one Portuguese Super Cup at the helm of Benfica.

After a six-year spell with the Eagles, he moved to rivals Sporting CP where he was unable to repeat the same level of success, winning just one Portuguese League Cup and one Portuguese Super Cup in three seasons.

Following his departure from Sporting, he spent half a year in Saudi Arabia – his first experience coaching outside of Portugal – where he coached Al-Hilal.

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