The coach, Ze Ricardo, is no longer training Raposa.
After the defeat to the virtually relegated Coritiba, in injury time, the Cruzeiro board chose to discontinue his work.
Follow with us Ze Ricardo’s performance, as well as the perilous situation of Cruzeiro in this final stretch.
Ze Ricardo’s Performance for Cruzeiro
In Brazilian football, unfortunately, it’s natural for coaching stints not to have continuity and last for short periods. With Ze Ricardo, it was no different.
Arriving in September this year, the coach led Cruzeiro in the much-anticipated return to Serie A for only 10 matches.
Ignoring the cultural factor of mass coach dismissals in Brazil, short tenures seem to be the trend in Ze Ricardo’s career.
His longest stint was with Flamengo, where he accumulated 64 games, including 10 as interim coach.
His time with the Rubro Negro elevated his status and made the coach highly regarded internationally.
He went through Vasco da Gama twice (34 and 25 matches), Botafogo (24 matches), Fortaleza (7 matches), Internacional (11 matches), Qatar SC (Qatar – 5 matches), and Shimizu S-Pulse (Japan – 28 matches) before joining Cruzeiro.
As we can see, the 52-year-old coach struggles to establish consistent tenures, having fewer than 15 games with three out of five Brazilian teams.
Now, let’s look at his numbers with the Cabuloso.
In 10 matches, the team won 3, drew 2, and lost 5 times. They scored 9 goals and conceded 8.
The acquisition of 11 points out of 30 played pushed Cruzeiro into the dreaded relegation zone.
It is true that Raposa has two games in hand, to be played during this FIFA date, against Vasco da Gama and Fortaleza.
Reproduction: Cruzeiro Social Media
Cruzeiro’s Misguided Planning
When a team adopts the SAF system, it is expected that the club will have a financial plan to follow, which is indeed happening.
The desperate situation of Cruzeiro’s finances has been no secret since 2019, including allegations of fraud against creditors and other offenses possibly committed by club officials.
Ronaldo would arrive not only to address the financial issue but also to propel the team forward compared to previous years, as the club played in Serie B for three seasons, almost getting relegated to Serie C in one of those instances.
Cruzeiro sought to bring in experienced players to handle the pressure of returning to the Brasileirão elite. As a counterpoint, they also brought in young players already well-regarded in the national market, such as Wesley and Artur Gomes, who had potential resale value.
So far, things seemed to be heading in the right direction.
To lead this new phase of Cruzeiro, the chosen one was Portuguese coach Pepa.
The Cabuloso’s management was very confident in the choice and backed the coach, who had only managed teams in the second and third tiers of the Portuguese league, such as Tondela, Feirense, Paços de Ferreira, and Vitória de Guimarães.
It’s easy to criticize after the work fails, but it’s necessary to point out. Not all coaches are Abel Ferreira. That is, before taking over Palmeiras, Abel had no titles as a professional. Now, after almost three years with Verdão, we see how correct the decision was.
Pepa was another case where he managed to take small teams to good positions in the standings.
However, we need to be patient. We’re talking about one of Brazil’s biggest clubs, Cruzeiro, which went through years of anguish, making its fans suffer unimaginably.
Was bringing in a coach without significant experience and a robust resume the right move in this specific situation?
Moreover, except for the big three (Benfica, Porto, and Sporting), the level of Brazilian football is much higher, so Pepa didn’t have these competitiveness benchmarks when he took over Cruzeiro.
His numbers were: 25 matches, 7 wins, 8 draws, and 10 losses, confirming his heavily contested career history upon arrival. Pepa has more losses than wins as a coach (127 and 117, respectively).
Image: Maxi Franzoi/AGIF
The name called to replace the Portuguese coach was Ze Ricardo.
We have already discussed his work and how, like many others, it didn’t work out.
In a cold analysis, at the time of hiring, the coach’s recent work should have been taken into account.
In this regard, it is evident that Ze’s recent track record did not qualify him as a relevant option for the situation Cruzeiro was going through.
It seems that the team’s management doesn’t understand that, after these years, Cabuloso and its fans had no margin for errors.
These errors now reflect in the team’s delicate situation. Raposa is in 17th place, just above the relegation zone.
There are already rumors in the media about the possibility of Vanderlei Luxemburgo taking over, although there is no official announcement from both parties.
Luxa is available in the market after leaving Corinthians. Indeed, based on his recent works, he is not a coach for an extensive planning, although we have great respect for his entire history in the football world.
However, for this specific situation, in the final stretch of the championship, he could be a good choice to take over. On paper, Cruzeiro’s team cannot be considered terrible. It has good names like Lucas Silva, Rafael Cabral, and Bruno Rodriguez, a pleasant surprise signed this year from Tombense.
Luxemburgo can restore the players’ confidence and make Cabuloso recover in the 45th minute of the second half.
The positive side is that the Belo Horizonte blue team has two games less than the others, potentially reaching 43 points if they win both matches. The matches will be played during this FIFA date.
However, we know it won’t be easy. Yes, Cruzeiro is at serious risk of being relegated again.
Do you believe Cabuloso will get out of this situation?
Image: Gustavo Aleixo/Cruzeiro
Written by Vitor F L Miller.