Zico Coaching Career


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After the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Japan Football Association looked for a replacement for the outgoing Philippe Troussier, and chose Zico as his successor. Despite his lack of coaching experience besides his stint as Brazil's technical coordinator during the 1998 World Cup, Zico had great understanding of Japanese soccer from his playing days and his role as Kashima's technical director. In addition, JFA had grown tired of Troussier's clashes with the media while the players were frustrated with his micromanagement. In contrast, Zico commanded respect from reporters and urged players to express themselves on the pitch.

Although Zico attempted to instill a free-flowing, attacking mentality to the team, his regime got off to an uneven start, which included a 4-1 loss to Argentina in 2003. Japan had a respectable showing at that year's Confederations Cup but struggled again in the beginning of 2004, only narrowly beating Oman in the first stage of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and several players were suspended after a drinking incident. Although Japan had not lost in its nine previous matches, he was rumored to be on the verge of resigning and a small group of fans marched in the streets of Tokyo demanding his firing.

He stayed on, however, and won the 2004 Asian Cup despite intimidation from Chinese fans and a team that featured just one European-based player, Shunsuke Nakamura. He then helped Japan qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with just one loss.

Despite the rocky start, injuries to key players and even a bizarre offer from Garforth Town, Zico has led Japan to its third World Cup finals appearance and the third Asian Cup title in four tries. His Japanese team is heavily influenced by Brazil's short passing style, but he has been flexible enough to switch between 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 formations. In addition, he has had a respectable record on European soil, beating Czech Republic and Greece and drawing with England, Brazil and most recently Germany.

However, Japan failed to win a single match at the Finals, losing twice (to Australia and Brazil) and drawing once (to Croatia), and scoring just two goals while conceding seven. He resigned from Japan at the end of the World Cup campaign.

In July 2006, signed a two-year deal with Fenerbahçe. He won the league title in 2007 and won Turkish Super Cup on the first year of his job. Under his command Fenerbahce has qualified from UEFA Champions League 2007-08 groups stage for the first time of club's history and beat Sevilla FC to become a quarter-finalist in 2007-08 season. So far, he also is the team's most successful manager in the history of the European arena.

Zico was given a new nickname by Fenerbahçe fans: Kral Arthur (meaning "King Arthur" in Turkish). For the team's nickname King Arthur and his Knights. In a chat hosted by uefa.com he pointed out that it is unlikely he will sign a contract extension with Fenerbahçe. This was confirmed on 10 June 2008 when he resigned as Fenerbahce manager.

On 8 September 2008, Zico revealed that he would be interested taking over the vacant managers position at Newcastle United following the resignation of Kevin Keegan. He is quoted saying "The Newcastle job is one that I would be very interested in taking. It would be a privilege and an honour, I've always wanted to experience the Premier League as I believe I could enjoy much success coaching in England." He also commented that he isn't bothered about the structure of the board at Newcastle United, "I am used to working alongside technical directors so this isn't an issue for me. It's normal for me to work in those conditions."

Bunyodkor, CSKA Moscow and Olympiakos C.F.P
In 2008, he coached FC Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan, where he won the Uzbekistani Cup and the Uzbek League. He subsequently took over at Russian side CSKA Moscow but was fired on 10 September 2009.

Less than a week later Zico signed a 2-year contract with Olympiacos F.C. Despite the absence of numerous first-team players due to injuries, he led the Greek club to a comfortable 2nd place in Group H of the Champions League, earning the qualification to the knockout stage. In the Greek Superleague his first results were also impressive, but the success lasted only till early winter and the fans started to complain about both the results and the playing style of the team. And they were ready to use violence against him (or his team) in order to achieve their ends. Finally on January 19, 2010, after a negative series of 4 matches with just one win, though his team lost only two times (twelve wins and four draws) in the Greek Superleague, Zico was sacked.

Back to Flamengo
On May 30th of 2010, Zico announced that he would become the new Soccer Executive/Director for Flamengo, coming back to the team where he won his most important honors after 25 years. One of his demands is that his salary won't be paid by the club. Instead, it will be paid by Flamengo's sponsors such as Olympikus and BMG. His contract is for four years.