Luis Castro’s Botafogo

Luis Castro Botafogo Cristiano Ronaldo

Brazilian Football has always been marked by its immediacy. This season, we have several examples of that. However, Luis Castro’s Botafogo is not an example of this immediacy. Here, we will show the club’s journey so far in the Brazilian Championship of 2023.

The History of Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas

Botafogo is one of the most popular teams in Brazil. During the 1950s and 1960s, it rivaled Santos and Palmeiras for the title of the best Brazilian club and, why not, the world.

Filled with stars like Nilton Santos and the Angel with Bent Legs, Garrincha, Botafogo won the Torneio Rio-São Paulo three times, became the five-time champions of Rio de Janeiro, and achieved the unforgettable Brazilian Championship victory in 1968.

Botafogo became Brazilian champions again in 1995, with the idol Túlio Maravilha as the top scorer and best player.

In the meantime, Fogão (Botafogo’s nickname) won the Carioca Championship on a few occasions, but the reality is that the team that enchanted the world in the 1950s and 1960s didn’t maintain the same momentum in the following years.

The year 1995 was truly an oasis in the midst of a title drought, as it has persisted to this day.

Except for state championships, Botafogo hasn’t won any major national titles, nor the long-awaited conquest of a prestigious international championship.

The year 2013 was more prosperous for Botafogo in recent times. With the arrival of Clarence Seedorf, Fogão managed to reach the fourth position in that Brasileirão, having led the championship for a few rounds.

However, in the following year, the team wasn’t prepared for the departure of its star and was relegated in 2014, which had already happened in 2002 and occurred for the third time in 2020.

Garrincha - Que fim levou? - Terceiro Tempo

The Advent of SAF at Botafogo

In 2022, following a global football trend, Botafogo became a SAF (Sociedade Anônima do Futebol, a type of corporation that manages a football club). The American buyer who acquired the majority of the club’s shares was John Textor.

Textor, despite being American, is well-known for his investments in the world of football. The entrepreneur was already a shareholder of major clubs like Olympique Lyonnais and Crystal Palace even before acquiring Botafogo.

The Botafogo fans were filled with hope with the arrival of the new leader, imagining that he would bring instant prosperity to the club through injecting significant funds into talent acquisitions.

Things didn’t go as expected in 2022 for Botafogo. The team didn’t dazzle and finished only in 11th place in the Brasileirão, without winning the Carioca Championship and being eliminated early in the Copa do Brasil.

But Textor had a plan.

Túlio destaca emoção do título de 95, no Botafogo: 'Eu virei o Maravilha'

(Photo: Arquivo LANCE!)

Luis Castro and Botafogo’s 2023

Luis Castro and the Botafogo team started the year under pressure.

It was undeniable that the club had brought in some heavy reinforcements (even though, up to that point, they weren’t as significant as the Botafogo fans had dreamed of).

Players like Tiquinho Soares, Eduardo, Marçal, Junior Santos, Adryelson, Victor Cuesta, and others arrived. With this team in his hands, Luis Castro finished in 11th place in the Brazilian Championship, without notable performances.

The highly respected coach, not only for his capacity and understanding of football but also for his moral integrity, was the first and only choice for the coaching position by the Textor management.

The American owner had reasons to not continue with Luis Castro, considering the team’s average performance in the 2022 Brazilian Championship combined with a seemingly unpromising start to the season.

Botafogo missed out on the elimination phase of the Campeonato Carioca, which had Fluminense as the champion.

Part of the fanbase and commentators expressed doubts about the Portuguese coach’s work, stating that his cycle should come to an end.

Textor and Luis did not agree with these claims.

At the time of writing this text, after 12 rounds, Botafogo sits at the top of the 2023 Brazilian Championship, a position they haven’t held since 2013.

Not only that, but this is the third-best campaign after 12 rounds in the history of the “pontos corridos” system, trailing only behind Corinthians in 2017 and Atlético Mineiro in 2012.

Luis Castro’s Botafogo team can be described as consistent. With a well-defined style of play, they aim to give few opportunities to the opponent and capitalize on the chances they get. With a very fast attack, utilizing the speed of Victor Sá and Júnior Santos, the team achieves a great balance with technically skilled players like Gabriel Pires, Eduardo, and Tchê Tchê.

In defense, the team provides the necessary stability. Victor Cuesta and Adryelson form an excellent center-back pairing. When Phillipe Sampaio comes in, he covers the starting role well. Additionally, the full-backs are capable of attacking and quickly and effectively recovering defensively.

Furthermore, they have the highly skilled national and international player, Tiquinho Soares, who is in top form. The striker has already scored 21 goals so far and is expected to score more.

However, caution is necessary. At this point, there are only indications of good football being played, with no actual achievements. Despite this, Botafogo’s fans, rightfully so, are pleased with their team’s performance, especially after enduring many difficult seasons.

Luís Castro exalta postura do Botafogo em vitória e comenta possível saída do clube - Lance!

(Photo: Vitor Silva/Botafogo)

Luis Castro and the Al-Nassr proposal

A piece of news shook the Brazilian football scene in recent days. Botafogo’s successful campaign has attracted international attention. As expected, the new big investors in the sport, Al-Nassr from Saudi Arabia, have reportedly made a multi-million dollar offer to secure the services of the Portuguese coach.

This desire reportedly has the backing of another Portuguese figure. Cristiano Ronaldo is said to have personally requested the arrival of Luis Castro.

Negotiations are advanced. The financial figures involved are exorbitant, and it is estimated that the coach would receive a salary four times higher than his current one.

There is no final decision yet, and Luis Castro is known to honor his contracts, but even John Textor admitted the possibility of the coach’s departure.

Cristiano Ronaldo liga para Luís Castro para tentar convencer treinador a trocar Botafogo pelo Al-Nassr - FogãoNET

(Photo: Vítor Silva/Botafogo | Al-Nassr/Facebook)

The independent legacy of Luis Castro

CAs mentioned earlier, under the guidance of the Portuguese coach, Botafogo has not yet achieved any tangible accomplishments. However, both Luis Castro and the Botafogo management have already become an example for Brazilian football.

In the current Brazilian Championship alone (after 12 rounds), 10 coaches have been fired so far, and this number is expected to increase significantly by the end of the competition.

This points to an evident lack of continuity in the work of coaches, which, combined with the extremely tight schedule, leaves them with very few opportunities to train their teams.

As a result, immediate results may not be forthcoming, leading to coaches being quickly discarded.

Luis Castro and the Botafogo management have set an example by showing that, often, for a work to showcase its best side, time is needed.

Time for players to understand the playing style and philosophy of the coaching staff and to be able to implement what they learn on the field.

Whether staying in Brazil or leaving to train Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Castro leaves behind a positive mark on Brazilian football.

In your opinion, should he continue and pursue the Brazilian title with Botafogo, or should the dream of coaching Cristiano Ronaldo take precedence?

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Written by Vitor F L Miller.

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Tags: Brasileirao, Highlights, News

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