Sao Paulo sack Ricardo after Libertadores exit

RIO DE JANEIRO - Former Brazil captain Ricardo Gomes has left Sao Paulo without a title after being told he no longer had a job at the Brazilian club he steered into the last four of the Libertadores Cup.

Sao Paulo, who lost their Libertadores semi-final to fellow Brazilians Internacional on the away goals rule, decided on Friday not to renew Ricardo's contract, which had automatically expired on their elimination from South America's premier club competition.

It was a tight finish with Sao Paulo beating Inter 2-1 on Thursday but going out to striker Alecsandro's goal at their Morumbi home having lost the away leg 1-0 the previous week.

"(Club) president Juvenal Olmos... together with coach Ricardo Gomes reached an agreement for the non renewal of the trainer's contract, which ended with the club's participation in the Copa Libertadores de America," Sao Paulo said on their official website.

It was Sao Paulo's fifth consecutive defeat in the knockout phase of the Libertadores Cup by a fellow Brazilian side including the 2006 final against Inter. They won the last of their three South American titles in 2005.

Ricardo, 45-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica defender and Monaco and Girondins Bordeaux coach who had been in charge for 13 months, said: "It was a valuable spell. We missed the title. We came very close.

"The team are strong, they had a good six months before the Cup, but it didn't go well after that. However, they have recovered and notched up two wins in important matches. Sao Paulo will vie for the Brazilian title once again."

Sao Paulo are ninth in the Brazilian championship, 11 points behind leaders Fluminense after 12 matches.

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