Former Flamengo goalkeeper coach praises Gabigol: ‘The first to arrive at CT’

In addition to what we can see on the field, during the 90 minutes of a match, there is the technical team that prepares the athletes. Who was part of this team for about 17 years was Wagner Miranda, former goalkeeper coach for Flamengo. Exclusively to our report, he commented on the club’s current goalkeepers and on the dispute for the title, recalled talents he helped to reveal and opened some backstage secrets.

Wagner, 55, is a former athlete, started his career at Olaria, a club in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, in the North Zone of the capital. He had stints at clubs such as Bragantino (SP) and América (RJ). After the end of his playing career, he sought to exercise the activity of goalkeeper coach, a profession he also wanted. He arrived at Flamengo in 2005, where he stayed until December 2021, when he was fired by the club due to the arrival of a new team from Portugal, along with coach Paulo Sousa.

Currently, the club has three goalkeepers, they are: Diego Alves, Hugo Souza, Gabriel Batista. Wagner, who worked closely with these defenders, considers it necessary to hire a new goalkeeper for Flamengo, based on the reality he knew until the end of last season:

I do see the need to hire another experienced athlete for the position. It would be interesting for Flamengo for this framework to be well cohesive and in case of need everyone can respond at a high level. The arrival of another goalkeeper would be important for Flamengo’s season. It’s my opinion talking about 2021.”

Wagner considers it necessary to hire another goalkeeper for Flamengo | Alexandre Vidal / Flamengo

Along with these three, Rubro-Negro also had goalkeeper César until the end of the season, but he said goodbye to the club about a week ago. Even Wagner revealed that this player was Gabigol’s favorite goalkeeper to train penalty kicks. He also praised the attacker’s posture, who constantly asked to improve finishing at the end of training:

Gabigol is the first to arrive at the Flamengo Training Center and the last to leave every day. It’s an absurd endeavor. In every training he asks to be able to make a submission or take some penalties. I saw there on a daily basis that he had a preference for taking a penalty with César. They stayed in that dispute and it helped both of them a lot.”

Wagner has accompanied some goalkeepers since the beginning of his career, as is the case of Paulo Victor, champion of the Copa do Brasil with Rubro-Negro in 2013, currently at Marítimo, in Portugal. The coach fondly recalled the choice he made for the player in the decisive phase of the U-20, when only one player could advance to the professional rank. However, other young talents were also trained by the trainer and obtained relevant achievements:

César played with me and was the champion of Rio de Janeiro, he took a penalty and everything, Gabriel Batista played with me and was also a champion, he was part of the context, when he needed him, he went there and responded. Hugo, who came from behind, today is a promise of Flamengo, fighting for a title, also played with me, he was Brazilian champion last year. All these athletes had the opportunity to play with me and they all responded positively to Flamengo,” said Wagner.

Wagner worked as a goalkeeper coach for Flamengo for about 17 years | Alexandre Vidal / Flamengo

With the arrival of the new technician, not only internal changes were felt. Like every new coach who has just arrived at the club, it is known that tactical changes will have to take place in the Flamengo team this new season. Paulo has a style of play in which the goalkeeper takes an active role in building plays and kicking the ball out with his foot. For Wagner, Flamengo is very well served by athletes for this tactical model:

Hugo plays very well with his feet, what he needs is confidence. It’s a foundation that I work a lot, and Hugo has always been very good. We already know about Diego Alves from his experience, he played in Europe for many years and there he already played with his feet. Flamengo is very well served with goalkeepers for this foundation.”

Although he had a keen eye to discover great talents, on social media the dismissal of the goalkeeper coach divided opinions. Some fans celebrated the arrival of substitute Paulo Grilo, a member of Paulo Sousa’s commission, with the justification that Wagner was “weak” and that they disapproved of the work developed by him. Others regretted the coach’s departure.

Despite this, with a smile on his face, Wagner does not hide his passion for the profession nor for the club he worked for for so long. Now, he follows from afar the news of the talents he has already helped to reveal. “All goalkeepers were important to me, just as I was important to their lives.”

Wagner smiling during the interview | TNT Sports

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