The players of Flamengo were welcomed back to Rio de Janeiro as national heroes on 9 July 2041. Thousands of locals took to the streets to celebrate the club becoming World Champions for the first time after winning the Club World Cup 2041.
Manager Robinho Lazaró needed a few days to recover from the madness of the final, which you can watch back here in the highlights package we created. However, in typical Brazilian style, Flamengo were thrown straight back into the thick of things as they resumed their Série A campaign.
Indeed, Flamengo returned to Brazil with four games in hand on most teams around them, including leaders Corinthians who they trailed by five points. However, Lazaró’s biggest focus was to try and win the Copa Libertadores, which resumed later in July.
Those efforts were bolstered with a massive signing as Lazaró was reunited with his former Palmeiras winger and new Brazil international Júlio David. He came in on loan from Fiorentina along with Egyptian centre-back Hussein Abdel Hamid, who joined on a free from Zamalek.
Straight into the league
Flamengo returned to Brazil with a really tricky run of fixtures. Three days after becoming world champions, their unbeaten league run extended to 11 games as a vastly rotated side beat a struggling Sao Paulo 2-0. They then beat fourth-place Ponte Preta and drew at Gremio before finally tasting defeat 2-0 at second-place Santos, who now play at the Pelé Arena.
A fully rotated side managed to beat Corinthians 1-0 then strugglers Ceará 3-1, in which 16-year-old talent Fabrício scored on his league debut. But injuries and international call-ups saw them lose to Lazaró’s former club Palmeiras, which meant they dropped to fourth with loads of games spare.
Copa Libertadores knockouts
Right in the middle of that heavy league schedule, Flamengo resumed their bid for Copa Libertadores. That began in the second round against Lazaró’s former side Alianza Lima. A return to Peru was first up and they played pretty poorly but came away with a 1-1. But they were much improved at home with a dominant 4-0 victory.
Frustratingly, they draw Brazilian champions and last year’s Libertadores runners-up Santos in the quarter-finals. The home leg was up first and a quickfire first-half double saw Britos bag his 30th of the season and Júlio David score his first for the club. They stayed on top after the break and the excellent Maicon set up the equally good Ricardo to seal a huge 3-0 win.
Another Brazilian side followed in the semis as they took on Cuiabá, while Indepiendente Santa Fe and Internacional faced off in the other. The away leg was first and Cuiabá started well and got a deserved lead after half an hour. But the game swung on a penalty as Maicon was taken out clean through on goal and Frantisek Stovicek coolly tucked home the spot-kick. Flamengo took control after the break as Júlio David finished a lovely team move superbly and midfielder Damián Parisi wrapped up a 3-1 win late on.
They took control of the second leg as Britos tapped home on 22 minutes. Cuiabá scored an outrageous free-kick early in the second half but Maicon responded with a delicious strike 12 minutes from time. Flamengo were into the Copa Libertadores Final!
Moving into title contention
A spell of easier games provided an opportunity for Flamengo to play catch-up on their rivals. Júlio David bagged a brace in a 3-0 win over Bahia before narrow wins over lowly CSA and Chapecoense, before a fully rotated side drew 1-1 with América to set an outrageous 50-game home unbeaten run!
Lazaró reached 1,000 matches as a manager at home to Bragantino, ahead of which the media labeled him a “true connoisseur of the beautiful game.” Unfortunately, half his team was on international duty for the landmark game but they still won 3-0 through Adriano, José Luiz and Célio Carlos. And that moved Flamengo six points clear of Corinthians with eight games remaining, in what was now very much a two-horse race for the title.
A 1-0 loss at third-place Ponte Preta gave Corinthians a chance to close the gap as, with six games remaining, Flamengo led the way by six points having played one game more. Intriguingly, Flamengo were drawn to visit Corinthians on the final day! And Lazaró’s performance saw him rewarded with his biggest contract yet worth £10,000-per-week for the next four years.
A Stovicek double eased them to a 3-1 win Ceará before a first home loss in over a year against Gremio, after which Corinthians drew at Chapecoense. Britos then bagged both goals in 2-0 win at Goianiense while Corinthians drew 3-3 with América to open up a seven-point gap.
Another mass of injuries and international call-ups was overcome with a 1-0 win over Avaí. Corinthians won at Paranaense and won their game in hand to reduce the gap to four points with two games to go. Therefore, a win at home to Santos would make Flamengo champions. However, before they could do that, Corinthians lost 1-0 at Cuiabá to hand them the title on the plate.
Flamengo were Champions of Brazil for the first time in 15 years!!
They celebrated the title with a 5-0 hammering of Santos before dominating 10-man Corinthians and winning 1-0. That wrapped up one of Lazaró’s best title wins yet, finishing top of Série A with 86 points, 26 wins, eight draws and just four defeats, 10 points clear of Corinthians. It wasn’t the most exciting season ever though, with Flamengo’s 59 goals being the most in the league along with having the best defence, conceding just 20 goals.
Maicon got the most assists with 12 and the third-best average rating of 7.33, Mucibabic had a league-high 17 clean sheets in just 25 games.
Copa Libertadores Final
Flamengo last won South America’s biggest prize back in 2019. During this save, they’ve reached the final four times and lost to other Brazilian teams every time – with the most recent in 2033 against Corinthians. Now, on 23 November 2041, they faced another as they took on Internacional, who haven’t been in the final since they won it in 2010 and are ninth in Série A, at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Lazaró had a few injuries to contend with but lined up:
Mucibabic; Célio Carlos, Fábio Appolinario, José Mario, Acevedo; Stovicek, José Luiz, Rojas; Júlio David, Maicon; Gustavo Britos
Subs: Adriano, Muller, Hamid, Vitinho, Luciano, Salvia, Nathan, Iago, Guimaraes, Esperidioni, Garcia
Nothing happened through the first half so Lazaró laid into his side at half-time. They improved after the break and, in truth were the only side creating anything. That showed as Júlio David latched onto a lovely pass from Joiner Rojas and coolly placed the ball beyond the keeper to put Flamengo in front. They continued to dominate the game but had Sasa Mucibabic to thank for a big one-on-one save in the last few minutes. And they made sure of the win as Célio Carlos curled home a free-kick in injury-time.
Flamengo won Copa Libertadores for the first time in 22 years!!
Exciting youth prospect
Possibly the best thing about managing in Brazil is bringing through new talent from youth intakes. Lazaró experienced just that as a great youth intake produced winger Ronaldo Luiz, who became Flamengo’s youngest-ever player when he played against América aged 15 years 330 days, which is 21 days older than Angelo’s Série A record. He’s already one of the top seven wingers and strikers at the club and immediately become its best prospect. And he’s not alone as Flamengo’s Under 20s won the Brazilian National Under-20 Championship!
This was probably the finest season of Robinho Lazaró’s 20-year Football Manager career. Not only did he win Série A for the second time he also won the biggest domestic prize available in South America by leading Flamengo to the Copa Libertadores. Add to that the Rio State Championship and becoming world club champion!
Britos racked up 40 goals in 53 games in all competitions and a new club record 32 league goals, winning him fans’ player of the season. Maicon set new club records for most assists (27) and player of the match awards (13) along with scoring 21 goals. While Mucibabic set a new club record 32 clean sheets and only conceded 21 goals in 49 appearances.
Stovicek bagged 14 goals and 15 assists, backup striker Adriano scored 13, midfielder Ricardo scored 12 and got five assists and Júlio David scored six and assisted four in 18 appearances.
These achievements mean the domestic side of Aventuras Américas is complete! Lazaró has won the titles in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, México, Peru, USA and Uruguay, in addition to both South American continental titles. So, with a slightly heavy heart, he decided to step down as Flamengo manager to focus on his international commitments with Brazil.
Join us next time as Robinho Lazaró takes Brazil to World Cup 2042!