Brazil faces World Cup semifinalists Morocco in a friendly in Tangier on Saturday with Under-20 coach Ramon Menezes acting as caretaker while the Brazilian FA search for a new manager.
Fresh from winning the South American Under-20 title in January, the low-profile Menezes is living in the moment and trying to ignore the noise surrounding the vacant managerial position as he prepare a tough challenge against Morocco.
“In my life, I usually talk about opportunities. I see this as a great opportunity and I’m trying to make the most of it,” Menezes, 50, told a news conference on Friday.
“It’s an honour and amazing feeling leading this group of outstanding players. With a lot of work, I’m doing my best on a daily basis and passing it on to the players.”
Menezes dodged the questions about who will be Brazil’s next manager and even his chances of getting the job if his side perform well on Sunday and his Under-20 team put on a good show in May’s World Cup in Indonesia.
“It is a pleasure to be here, not only for me but for all the players,” Menezes said. “The players show this every day, the pleasure of wearing Brazil’s colours all the time we have been together.
“I talked to the players about the atmosphere surrounding this game, although these players are used to it, this pressure, full house, big game with Morocco embracing their national team after a great World Cup.
“I feel our players are very motivated for this game. You look into the eyes of each one of them and they transmit this pleasure of wearing the national team jersey.”
Captain Casemiro talked about Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti being the favourite to become Brazil’s next boss.
Despite speaking highly about the Italian, who was his coach for years at Real, midfielder Casemiro pointed out that the players should be careful and respect due process.
“He is a coach I know very well, a good friend I have, someone I admire in football, it was a pleasure working with him, but there is another side - Ancelotti has a club, which is Real Madrid, we have to respect the club he is at, we have to respect Ancelotti,” he told a news conference.
“We also have a coach here, Ramon (Menezes), who is the caretaker, but he is here to play this game.
“These are opportunities. If he does a great job and the names the president wants don’t come, Ramon will be there.
“From the moment I came here, I am respecting and treating him like a he is a World Cup coach.”
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