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***NOTE***

I am starting a chapter story of a career I am going to be doing on an older version of Football Manager (the 2010 edition). There will likely be a few threads in this section of my different adventures in this career and I hope it is a good read as I will try my best on it, even for some of you critics in here. Enjoy! :)

***NOTE***





Renato Borges Azevedo, born in Dois Vizinhos on July 28, 1976, a city in the southern state of Parana, in Brazil, had hopes of becoming a professional footballer some day. He practiced daily as a child from when he was 6 years old. He worked on his ball control, passing range, and of course his shooting. He mainly played his football with the kids at his elementary school and he always seemed like one of the brightest talents there. Mind you, these were 7/8 year old kids only, many of which didn't have a real interest in the sport and just played for the sake of playing and having fun. When Renato turned 12, he convinced his parents to allow him to go on a trial for the U-13s team of Brazilian club Coritiba Foot Ball Club, the oldest club in the state of Parana and one that Renato supported in his childhood days. He remembered when they won the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A just three years prior in 1985 which sparked scenes of jubilant celebrations in his local neighbourhoods. It was clear that he fell in love with the club that year during such a long and arduous season which lasted 44 games, but he stuck by them, watching them as often as he could on television whenever they had a match.

Feeling confident in his chances of making the club's youth team, Renato headed to the city of Curitiba where the club was located. He stayed there for two weeks, refusing to give up despite suffering some hamstring strains on the drills and bruising his knee in a scrimmage between two sets of the trialling players. Renato seemed determined and nothing could stop him from making the team.

Until he suffered a serious knee injury during another scrimmage which left him lying on the ground crying and grimacing in pain. The signs did not look good and Renato was ruled unable to stay for the remainder of the trials, meaning he could no longer have a chance of making the team. Renato spent three weeks of his recovery time at Hospital Novo Mundo with his parents there right beside him, who decided to come and support their son after hearing of the news over the phone just hours after the incident.

Soon after, Renato was released from the hospital and went back to his home in Dois Vizinhos to spend the rest of his recovery time at home. He then had a talk with his parents and his two siblings (one brother, one sister) about the incident and he vowed that he wouldn't play football again after that because the pain of thinking about something similar happening again was too much for him to bear. Instead he made the decision to focus on school and forget about working towards becoming a professional footballer. He would still support Coritiba and play football with his friends at school after he recovers, but he wouldn't be pursuing any further interest in becoming a professional player.
 

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A few years later when Renato's 18th birthday recently passed, he re-ignited his interest of getting into football, but not as a professional footballer this time, but rather as a manager. He became interested in the position a couple of years earlier during Copa America 1991 after watching his country Brazil beat Colombia and Chile with a 2-0 scoreline in both matches and he took a notice of how important tactics were to a team's success in terms of how they set up and the brand of football they adapt. He began to think about himself being a manager of a team in such a big tournament but knew he had alot of work to do in order to get there. He decided to focus on finishing school first before taking the first steps down the career path of becoming a manager.

After his graduation in 1997, Renato started planning out his steps. He coached a kids' school team where he lost out in the city championship finals narrowly. It was the first time that the school's football team made it to the city finals in 13 years. Many of the locals found Renato's work impressive but he decided not to stay with the team for another year, saying he did what was necessary despite losing in the finals and he wanted to move on in his career path.

Early in 1999, he struck a deal with Rio Branco Sport Club to coach the U-17 team for one season. It was the first job in professional management for Renato and he was happy about getting the opportunity because it meant that he was on the right track to getting where he wants to be at. "I want to make sure I leave a mark on football when I retire from coaching which is some three, four decades away from now, hopefully. I want to be remembered for what I did when I am done", was what Renato said after agreeing a deal to manage Rio Branco's U-17 team.
 

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In his first season as the manager of Rio Branco's U-17 team, Renato did well and achieved a midtable finish in the Brazilian Youth League (BSL). It wasn't easy as the squad suffered some injuries early on in the season with Renato's side being left short in numbers. In two of the games there were only three substitutes on the bench because there was hardly any players available for selection at that point.

On his first season with the team, Renato said;

"We had a positive season. Most people who follow Brazilian youth club football probably expected us to finish in the lower positions and with the injuries we suffered early on, the claims for that were even stronger. These kids though have a strong mental belief in themseleves and their hard work has payed off with a good outcome. It's a bit similar to the high school team I coached last year but this is at a more serious level and the players were certainly up for it. Some of these kids have a future in the first team of Rio Branco if they keep this progress up."

After Renato's comments on the season were completed, the question came out on whether or not he would stay with the U-17s for another year or would he be moving on again to greener pastures. He said;

"No, I am quite happy here for the time being. I don't need to rush my career into stardom because I am still just 24 years old and I have so much left to learn. I want to stay here for another year and see if we can build on what we accomplished this season. Then after that, anything could happen but it would all be just speculation at this point because I am staying here."

Renato confirmed that he would be staying for another year.
 

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Renato's second season fared even better; a 7th place finish with a side who still had most of the players from the previous year whilst adding four new faces from the U-15 team. The injury problems weren't as severe as they were the season before so it allowed Renato the chance to build a regular lineup and start them in consecutive matches to get some continuity going. That's exactly what he achieved with his young players doing better with a higher finish in the table.

At the end of the season, Renato said about his team;

"Well I said last year that this group of players has some serious talent and this season it is even more evident. I'm happy for Rio Branco that they have a bright future with so many youth talents coming through the ranks and having some homegrown players in your first team is always a satisfying thing for any club. I'm happy to say that I have done my job well here and can move on now with another important two years of experience under my belt."

Renato decided not to renew his contract and leave Rio Branco's U-17 team at the end of the 2000/01 season.
 

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Renato then surprisingly signed for Sporting Clube de Portugal as a first team manager, becoming part of new head coach Laszlo Boloni's staff. Laszlo had taken notice of the good work that Renato did in Brazil at such a young age and decided that he was very much the right guy to have in his staff at Sporting. For Renato the news came as a surprise but he said that he was fully up to the challenge and had goosebumps at the realization of being part of management in a big European club.

In the 2001/02 season, Sporting won the domestic double, claiming the Liga Sagres and Taca de Portugal titles. They won the title with 75 points from 30 games, finishing five ahead of closest runners Boavista. They then beat Leixoes 1-0 in the final of the Taca de Portugal to claim their 17th Portugese Cup overall and their first since 1995. Renato was overjoyed at the successes and said he was proud to be part of one of Sporting's best seasons in club history in his very first year of European footballing management but said he was hungry for even more success.

The 2002/03 season arrived with some bigger expectations than the previous season had and things started well with Sporting claiming the Portugese Super Cup by beating Leixoes 5-1, the same team they beat in the Taca final the previous season. Things seemed rosy for Renato and Sporting but they were about to get considerably worse. Sporting fell out of the Champions League in the final qualifying round with a 2-0 aggregate loss against Inter Milan, a loss at home to Naval meant their Taca defense was over, and Boloni ended up getting sacked at the season's end because of the mediocre results. Sporting finished 27 points behind champions FC Porto. Truly a disastrous outcome after how much promise held after the previous season's achievements.

Renato struggled to explain what went wrong and said he felt deep regrets for the fans after they had to suffer so much just a year after celebrating two very important titles of a remarkable campaign, but stated that football is cruel like that at times. He did say though that he would stay to be a part of new coach Fernando Santos' staff for the following season.

Sporting fared better domestically in the 2003/04 season but still finished nine points behind eventual champions which were once again FC Porto. Sporting also missed on Champions League football for the following season, finishing one point behind second place and arch rivals Benfica. Another run in the Portugese Cup ended early whilst they also went out to Turkish side Genclerbirligi in the second round of the UEFA Cup. Santos resigned at the end of the season as a result and Renato decided it was time for him to move on as well.
 

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Renato rejected an offer to coach PSV Eindhoven in 2005 before being installed the new assistant manager of Barcelona by then coach Frank Rijkaard. Barcelona were at the time the champions of Spain and Europe after their wonderful 2005/06 campaign but they needed an assistant manager after the departure of Henk ten Cate. Rijkaard decided that Renato was the right guy but only if he was interested. The 30 year old Brazilian couldn't say no and joined Barcelona in the summer of 2006.

Things started well with victory in the Spanish Super Cup but, just as at Sporting, it all went bad yet again. A heavy loss to Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup didn't seem too big of a worry at the time but defeat in the FIFA Club World Cup final, followed by an embarassing semifinal exit to Getafe in the Copa del Rey, and an early knockout stage Champions League exit to Liverpool followed which meant Barcelona had just La Liga to contend for. Despite leading the standings for much of the season, Barcelona lost the league title to great rivals Real Madrid on the final day, a 5-1 win away to Gimnastic wasn't enough as Real beat Mallorca 3-1 to clinch the championship. Late home draws in the penultimate rounds of the season cost Barca and a very disappointing season ended with just 1 of the 6 possible titles won.

The 2007/08 was even worse; Barcelona faltered completely in La Liga after Round 25, picking up just three wins and 13 points in the last 13 rounds, which ultimately meant that they finished 18 points behind Real Madrid who were crowned champions again. It left Barca with just the cup competitions to contend for. They went out once again in the Copa del Rey semifinals, this time with a 4-3 aggregate loss to Valencia, before losing 1-0 to Manchester United in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, meaning that Barcelona endured a trophyless season for the first team in over four years. Rijkaard then stepped down at the end of the season after five years in charge of the Catalans as did Renato who said he felt he was now ready to manage in European football on his own.
 

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Chapter #1 coming soon....
 
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