Sampaoli calls coaching Santos biggest challenge of his career

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Jorge Sampaoli said here Tuesday during his first press conference as coach of Santos that it is “incredible” to be with the team where the legendary Pele became a star.

“This is the most important challenge of my career because it’s what’s ahead and people have a clear idea of what they expect from me and I have to make my style work in a difficult league,” he said in the auditorium of Sao Paulo’s Pacaembu stadium.

The 58-year-old Argentine said that the offer from Santos came after he had analyzed a lot of other projects and that he didn’t hesitate to sign with the Brazilian club.


“I believe I’m in the place where the cradle of soccer is, from where the best players sent to Europe come,” Sampaoli said.

He said that the club’s history of star players like Pele - who led Brazil to three World Cups - and current Brazilian captain Neymar, obliges him “to think more” about scoring than defending.

Sampaoli coached Argentina during the 2018 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the knockout stage by eventual champion France.

He won the 2015 Copa America as coach of the Chilean national team and has been with clubs such as Universidad de Chile and Spain’s Sevilla.