Jorge Jesús had been Flamengo’s manager for only six months when in November 2019 he led them to a first Copa Libertadores in 38 years – and only their second such title, after the great Zico inspired their first in 1981. He had also been only the club’s second Portuguese manager, following Cândido de Oliveira in 1950, and become a cult figure in Brazil, where locals affectionately knew him as Mister.
Yet for all of his success it was at Benfica – where he oversaw their first successive titles in 31 years amid a wider total of 10 trophies in just six years – where he truly built his reputation, and where aged 65 he returned at the conclusion of 2019/20. Jesús had also become the first manager to move directly from Benfica to their rivals Sporting Lisbon in 2015, before managing Saudi Arabia’s Ah-Hilal prior to his arrival at Flamengo. His departure to Sporting, it seems, has been forgiven. “It’s not enough just to win a match; you also have to entertain,” Jesús once said. Recognised for the intensity of his training sessions, he will be expected to add to the three Primeira Ligas he has already led them to.