Dorival Júnior set to be named Brazil head coach after leaving São Paulo

<span>Photograph: Amanda Perobelli/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Amanda Perobelli/Reuters

Dorival Júnior has resigned as head coach of São Paulo to take charge of Brazil’s national team, the club said in a statement on Sunday.

Dorival, 61, was the preferred choice after the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) failed to recruit the Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, who chose to extend his contract with Real Madrid after months of speculation linking him with the Seleção job.

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The CBF announced last week that Fernando Diniz, appointed last year on an interim basis while still coaching Fluminense, had been sacked in order to hire a permanent coach to prepare the team for the 2026 World Cup. The previous full-time Brazil head coach, Tite, left his role after their shock quarter-final exit at the hands of Croatia on penalties in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Under Diniz, Brazil struggled badly in World Cup qualifying, losing three games in a row to Uruguay, Colombia and Argentina in October and November. Dorival’s first game in charge will come at Wembley in a friendly against England on 23 March. The Brazilian will then lead his nation into this summer’s Copa America in the USA.

“São Paulo Football Club announces the departure of coach Dorival Júnior, who has asked to leave to take charge of the Brazilian national team,” the club said in a statement on X.

Dorival led Flamengo to the Copa Libertadores title and the Brazilian Cup in 2022 before joining São Paulo. He has also coached Atlético Mineiro, Athletico Paranaense, Internacional, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense and Palmeiras.

He said in the statement that it was “the realisation of a personal dream, which was only possible because I received recognition for the work carried out in São Paulo. I would also like to thank the fans for all their love and support.”

São Paulo’s president, Julio Casares, said: “The invitation to Dorival is further proof that we are on the right track. All that remains is to wish him good luck in his new challenge.”