Dorival Junior departs Sao Paulo to take charge of Brazil

Coach Dorival Júnior is leaving Brazilian club Sao Paulo to take charge of Brazil's national team, the club said in a statement on Sunday.

"It is the realization of a personal dream, which was only possible because I received recognition for the work carried out in Sao Paulo," Júnior said in a statement released by Sao Paulo. "I would also like to thank the fans for all their love and support."

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The Brazilian soccer confederation, known as the CBF, did not immediately confirm the appointment. But a CBF source told The Associated Press on Friday that Júnior would receive an offer to replace the fired Fernando Diniz.

Sao Paulo president Júlio Casares said CBF's invitation to Júnior "is another piece of evidence we are on the right track."

The coach, who won the prestigious Copa Libertadores title with Flamengo in 2022, took Sao Paulo to their first Brazilian Cup trophy last year.

"I wish Dorival luck in his next challenge," Casares said.

CBF president Ednaldo Rodrigues fired Diniz on Friday, saying he wanted to "advance the process of choice of a permanent coach." Diniz, who was splitting his Brazil duties with coaching Fluminense, had a contract until days before Copa America starts in the United States in June.

Rodrigues had expected Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti to take the Brazil job. However, Ancelotti recently extended his contract at Madrid.

The decision to sack Diniz came after Rodrigues was reinstated as head of the CBF, after a decision by minister Gilmar Mendes of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), following his dismissal in early December by the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice.

Earlier Sunday, Rodrigues refused to answer questions about Júnior during the wake and funeral for Brazil World Cup great Mario Zagallo in Rio de Janeiro.

"Today is a day for Zagallo, nothing else," Rodrigues said.

Brazil's next matches will be in March with friendlies against England and Spain in Europe.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.