Fernando Dinis, the coach who guided Fluminense to its first-ever Copa Libertadores title, is set to face Manchester City in the FIFA Club World Cup final, presenting a chance to showcase his unconventional tactics on a global stage.
Dinis, who led Fluminense to victory in the Copa Libertadores in November, challenges traditional positional play, emphasizing individual creativity and ball possession. Despite City's superior player quality, Dinis aims to prove that his approach, which prioritizes "beautiful football" and dynamic player movement, can compete at the highest levels.
Dinis, 49, brings a unique perspective to football, encouraging players to find solutions independently and prioritize ball control. His system focuses on Brazilian-style play, influenced by street and indoor football experiences. Marcelo, a former Real Madrid player, exemplifies Fluminense's approach, seemingly a left-back but granted attacking freedom. The system also features veterans like 40-year-old Felipe Melo and 43-year-old Fabio, showcasing Dinis's belief in experience and adaptability.
Facing Manchester City and their manager Pep Guardiola, known for groundbreaking ideas, Dinis has the opportunity to make a global impact. Guardiola praised Dinis's style, recognizing the Brazilian emphasis on slow, controlled play that accelerates at crucial moments.
Despite Dinis's popularity, his stint as interim coach for the Brazilian national team faced challenges, with disappointing World Cup qualifier results. Some critics argue that Dinis's chaotic, player-centric approach works better at the club level than on the international stage, emphasizing the need for success against City to validate his system as a revolutionary force in world football.