Flamengo coach Jesus savours Libertadores glory

The Portuguese manager saw his side produce an epic late comeback to seal a cherished piece of silverware
The Portuguese manager saw his side produce an epic late comeback to seal a cherished piece of silverware

Flamengo head coach Jorge Jesus described his side's Copa Libertadores triumph as "the most important title of my career".

Two goals in three minutes from Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa saw Flamengo snatch a 2-1 victory over defending champions River Plate in Lima on Saturday.

Flamengo were trailing to Rafael Santos Borre's first-half strike, until Gabriel equalised in the 89th minute and netted the winner three minutes later.

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A three-time league champion with Benfica, while he also claimed silverware at Braga, Sporting CP and Al Hilal, Jesus revelled in the achievement.

"It's the most important title of my career," Jesus said post-game. "The Copa Libertadores is for South America what the Champions League is for Europe.

"Any of the teams in the continent could have won it. Now we will try to win the Brazilian Serie A, but this is undoubtedly the most important trophy."

Jesus arrived at Flamengo in June and the Brazilian side are 26 games unbeaten in all competitions as they also close in on Campeonato Brasileiro glory.
 
"When I decided to come to Flamengo a lot of people didn't agree with me, including my friends and my agent," Jesus added.

"But I made my own decision to come without being influenced by others. If we win the Club World Cup, it will be the best year of my career."

Jesus has been linked to La Liga champions Barcelona, but the 65-year-old Portuguese boss stressed he's happy where he is right now. 

"I feel very good at Flamengo," he said. "I've made many friends in Brazil and the people have always treated me very well."

It was Flamengo's first Libertadores title since 1981 and Gabriel – on loan from Serie A side Inter – declared his team must now go on to win even more silverware.  

"Flamengo have to win the Brasileirao, win the Club World Cup," he said. 

The Brazilian club next face Ceara in the league on Wednesday with Flamengo 13 points clear at the top of the table with four games to play. 

Flamengo last won the league in 2009 and finished last season in second as Palmeiras lifted the title. 

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