Jorge Jesus will manage the biggest match of his career on Saturday night (17:30 Portugal Time) in Qatar as Flamengo play Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool for the FIFA Club World Cup trophy.
When Jesus first went to Brazil, his hiring as manager was met with much skepticism, but now he can’t walk down any street in Rio or any part of Brazil without being interrupted for a selfie.
“This is the most important match of my career,” said Jesus. “It is the cherry on the cake of Flamengo’s season, the biggest final I have been involved in.”
Many in Brazil, even various pundits, believe the European style Jesus has brought to Flamengo can play a critical role in beating Liverpool. Jesus has revolutionized the thought process of training and match preparation so much that fellow Portuguese Augusto Inácio was hired at Brazilian club Avaí.
This is helping to open the doors to more Portuguese managers in a country that has historically over time ignored them.
Brazilians are much more excited about playing in this FIFA club competition, but that won’t change Liverpool’s focus.
“The situation is different for us as it is for Flamengo,” said Klopp. “They came here with a clear order to win it and come back home as heroes. We got told to stay at home and play in the EFL Cup. But we are here and my team wants to win this competition. The view in Europe of the Club World Cup is different from the view in the rest of the world but we want to change that.”‘
“This is the first time that I have faced a Brazilian team but this is also the first time Flamengo has played a team like Liverpool,” he added.
Klopp had complimentary words for Jorge Jesus.
“I know what we have to expect. Flamengo will be intense and organized. Jorge Jesus has changed their fortunes. He has brought players into the defense, he has a settled line-up, a team where everybody knows what they have to do. He was a successful coach at Benfica and at Sporting CP. He’s a character and is famous for being organized. He could go to a European club if he wanted but maybe Rio is such a nice place he wants to stay there.”
Saturday’s final will be Flamengo’s 74th match of the 2019 year.