The season starts here…..By: David | August 14th, 2008
Itâ€™s been a rollercoaster ride for the Tricolores this season. Defeat in the final of the Taca Rio to Botafogo, and the unforgettable Libertadores campaign made for an exciting but ultimately painful first few months of the season. During the Libertadores, the weekend became almost painful as â€˜Team Bâ€™ was constantly fielded to save the stars for the games against Sao Paulo, Boca and LDU, and led to Flu being at the bottom of the Brasileirao for most of the early part of the season, but it was only temporary, or so we thought! The end of Libertadores almost brought a sigh of relief, yes, the competition ended in defeat, to a very limited team from Ecuador, but it also marked the beginning of Fluâ€™s attempts to win a place in next yearâ€™s Libertadores. Unfortunately this hasnâ€™t happened and since the LDU game, Flu have lost players to Europe and the Olympics and now look like theyâ€™re in a relegation dogfight, which they may well not get out of.
Obviously, Iâ€™ve omitted one other important piece of information; Renato Gaucho was sacked and replaced with ex-Botafogo manager Cuca. During the Libertadores Gaucho was being hailed as one of the greatest coaches in S. America, but after a string of bad results, the fans and the hierarchy of Fluminense lost their patience. Whether Cuca can change things remains to be seen. The end of August will (hopefully) see the return of Thiago Neves (the best player in Brazilâ€™s domestic league) and Thiago Silva (the best defender in Brazilâ€™s domestic league), unless they get snapped up by European teams on their way back from Beijing. The return of the Thiagos should see an upturn in results, and could be just in time for the Classico against Flamengo at Maracana.
Sunday sees Cucaâ€™s first game in charge against A. Mineiro, who have been in good form of late, but the change of manager may well bring a change of fortune for Flu!