In South America he won five trophies, including the prestigious Copa Libertadores, and came close to beating Liverpool in the Club World Cup final.
The disastrous health situation in Brazil is thought to have been a major factor behind Jesus deciding to return to Portugal, after initially pledging his immediate future to Flamengo by signing a new contract just a few weeks ago.
Jesus’ first spell at Benfica, between 2009 and 2015, brought the Lisbon club three Primeira Liga titles in six seasons (the club had won the league only once in the previous fifteen years), and a total of ten trophies plus two Europa League finals, before he sensationally walked out to join rivals Sporting. Three years later Jesus left Sporting in the wake of the Alcochete attack and headed for the Middle East. But the veteran coach bounced back to prominence when he signed for Brazilian giants Flamengo and subsequently led the Rio de Janeiro club to its greatest ever season.
Benfica’s spectacular collapse in 2020, including an unprecedented poor run of results of just three wins in fifteen games and relinquishing the title to fierce rivals FC Porto, led the club to look for a new coach. Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira made a flying visit to Brazil and last Friday Jorge Jesus was unveiled as the Eagles new manager. CW