7 things you should know about incoming Brazil boss Tite – and what’s on his plate
1. He’s not big pals with Big Phil
When Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked by Chelsea in 2009, he didn’t leave many friends behind in the Blues’ dressing room. He did have Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, better known as Tite (pronounced chi-chi), though (if not at Stamford Bridge) – a former footballer he played alongside in the ‘70s and could trust with his secrets. Well, that was then. Now they don’t talk to each other and haven’t since a controversial episode in 2010.
Tite’s Corinthians were fighting for the Serie A title but finished three points behind champions Fluminense. Scolari had nothing to with it, though, right? Don’t tell the incoming Brazilian coach that. He’s never spoken openly about it, but is convinced Big Phil’s Palmeiras threw their match against Fluminense to diminish his chances of winning the trophy that season.
2. You can forget about Pato
He was annoyed with the striker after he missed a panenka penalty against Gremio
Ask anyone around Chelsea’s Cobham training centre – Alexandre Pato will not be missed. And he can forget about the Brazilian national team as well. Tite, known for his values and integrity, is far from difficult to get along with but he can’t stand a player who doesn’t take his colleagues’ work seriously.
He was annoyed with Pato after the 26-year-old striker missed a panenka penalty against Gremio that knocked Corinthians out of Brazilian Cup. “You have to stop being selfish,” Tite told him, according to his recently published biography by one of the most influential reporters in the country, Camila Mattoso.
3. Thiago Silva can smile again
There’s no doubt that Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva is one of the best in the world in his position. He wasn’t a part of Dunga’s plans, though – blame his protests for losing the captain’s armband, and the complaints from his staff.
The Brazilian confederation couldn’t have hired a better coach to help Silva earn his place back. Tite has a reputation for building solid defences so the PSG stopper could force his way into the new manager's plans.
4. Beauty might not return, but spirit should
The 55-year-old is a popular choice, though, with both the fans and media. He’s aware he needs to build a team
Since 2001, except for Carlos Alberto Parreira, all Brazil coaches have been from the Rio Grande do Sul state – Dunga, Mano Menezes, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Dunga again and now Tite. Most of them were raised in a football school known for its defensive-minded style of play and pragmatic thinking.
Tite’s not exactly a follower of this mentality. He's also not the man who will be responsible for the revival of the beautiful game.
The 55-year-old is a popular choice, though, with both the fans and media. He’s aware he needs to build a team – and he’s famous for doing it successfully, despite choosing efficiency over beauty as his way most of the time.
This doesn’t come as a surprise if you consider that Tite despises Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola as references, and has Carlo Ancelotti as his role model after spending time with the Italian at Real Madrid. He also observed Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, but it’s rarely mentioned.
5. He’s got old beef with Neymar
“Losing or winning is part of the game. Simulate a situation to take advantage, it’s not right. It’s a bad example for the kids that are growing up, my child and everyone else,” Tite said in an interview. He was referring to Neymar after a derby between Corinthians and Santos in 2012.
Since then, the new Brazil coach has beaten Chelsea in the FIFA Club World Cup, won the Brazilian league for the second time and taken a sabbatical year. He’s improved and is different now – much like Neymar. But they’ve still got things to work out together, the 24-year-old’s bad temper on and off the field for one.
Never in their history – not even in 1994 – have Brazil relied as much on a footballer as they do on the Barcelona star. That’s a bit scary considering that, despite being on holiday, his selfie photos with Justin Bieber while watching his team-mates during the Copa America fiasco have attracted more attention than his performances with the team.
6. He could have taken this job before
Tite had been expecting to replace former coach Luiz Felipe Scolari after the 2014 World Cup, but in a controversial move the Brazilian confederation decided to bring Dunga back instead, and refused to hear the fans’ campaign for Pep Guardiola.
He waited for a call that never came after the 7-1 defeat to Germany, and this frustration led him to refuse four approaches from Brazilian representatives to meet in the last 12 months.
“He called and told me what happened,” said his brother Ademir Bacchi, known as Miro, in an interview for Tite’s biography. “He was surprised like I’d seen only a few times before. He decided not to go. Why call him for a meeting? He said on the phone: ‘With these men in charge, I won’t go... I won’t go’.”
7. He hates his new boss
At the end of 2015, as the corruption allegations against the Brazilian confederation developed, Tite signed a petition for a new CBF with Pele, other coaches, footballers and ex-footballers demanding the “immediate resignation of president Marco Polo Del Nero and his board of directors”.
Del Nero is being investigated by the FBI, two Parliamentary Commissions of Investigation in Brazil and by FIFA, the world's governing body of football. He is accused of benefiting from a bribery scheme connected to the sales of rights to competitions abroad.
Tite's first match as manager of Brazil will be a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Ecuador in September.