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Wenger an inspiration but Guardiola a genius to Albania coach Sylvinho

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Mar 2024

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Albania coach Sylvinho looked up to Arsene Wenger as his inspiration, while he hailed Pep Guardiola as a “genuis”.

Sylvinho did not have much success during spells in charge of Lyon in France and Corinthians in his homeland of Brazil, but has excelled in his first job as a national team manager.

He took over Albania’s national team at the start of 2023, and guided them to the Euro 2024 qualification. It is just the second time the Balkan nation have progressed to the finals of UEFA’s flagship competition, and his efforts saw him rewarded with the Golden Decoration of the Eagle by Albania’s prime minister.

Sylvinho lost just one of his opening eight games as Albania coach, with that defeat coming in his first match against Poland, though his side did slip to a 3-0 friendly defeat to Chile on Friday.

His success, though, should perhaps not come as a surprise given who the 49-year-old played under during his time at Arsenal and then Barcelona.

Sylvinho said to Stats Perform: “Outside Brazil, my first manager was Arsene Wenger. I learnt a lot from him, he was a person of a very high level in terms of management, education, football and vision.

“I had the chance to work with [Frank] Rijkaard at Barcelona, he’s a great manager too. I finished the 2008-2009 season with a treble and [Pep] Guardiola was the coach.

“He was another coach I learnt a lot from. He’s a genius. He’s different. And you learn a lot from him too.”

Before moving to Europe, Sylvinho spent time with Corinthians, where he developed under Nelsinho Baptista and Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

Sylvinho added: “Nelsinho Baptista was a coach I worked with for a while at Corinthians. He was a very competitive coach, with a great sense of humour and a very serious line-up, as was his entire career.

” In 1998, we were Brazilian champions and made a leap forward technically as a team, and I also saw myself in one of the best moments of my time as a professional footballer.

“Vanderlei Luxemburgo was our coach. We had a very technical team, very well-adjusted on the pitch, and very well-coordinated.”

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