Tite does not forget Belgium. The Brazilian coach had a practically immaculate career until he crashed against Roberto Martínez’s team in Russia 2018. After 26 games, 20 wins and a single loss in a friendly against Argentina, the Canarinha he said goodbye in the quarterfinals against the Red Devils in the last World Cup. And Tite did not forgive him. After having been faithful to his convictions, always with two metallurgical flyers like Renato Augusto and Paulinho, a successful formula that he had exported from his Corinthians, he was betrayed in Russia. He changed Coutinho for Renato Augusto and the Canarinha lost fierceness. When he wanted to back down, it was too late. Tite looks to the past to write the future and nothing better than the Copa América to find Casemiro’s partner in the middle. He needs another tough guy to balance a team with a tendency to break down, so far he hasn’t found any better than Fred.
Tite is echoed by the words of Carlos Alberto Parreira, world champion in 1994: “In the center of the field, a footballer who plays every game six points is better than another who plays 10 one day and the other four.” Parreira, in the United States, lined up Mauro Silva, Dunga and Mazinho. “Tite is concerned about the balance in the team. He knows that he cannot play alone with Casemiro in contention. He is looking for his partner. Fred is very reliable “, they assure from the environment of the preparer of the Canarinha.
Fred has started four of Brazil’s five Copa América games. And he fulfilled Tite: he became Casemiro’s spare wheel. The Real Madrid player leads the ball recoveries table (64), followed by Manchester United (46). Fred’s statistics are rounded off with seven innings won (fourth on the list) for the 447 balls touched (sixth). Little fails, as the coach wants: 65 balls lost to Casemiro’s 79.
A year and a half after the World Cup in Qatar, Fred aims to consolidate himself at the base of Tite. Everything, however, seems to cost him at the wheel of United. When he began his career in the Canarinha, suffered a doping sanction. “Obviously, I didn’t dope. Unfortunately, a prohibited substance was found in my body and I was punished. It is very difficult for them to deprive you of exercising your profession, of doing what you like the most and at such a good time in my career ”, the Brazilian footballer defended himself. He haggled over the sanction, also the Donbass war. “It is very difficult to live in a country at war, you do not know what can happen,” he said. But the Shakhtar Donetsk is a piece of Brazil in Ukraine. A context that softened his anguish in Ukraine.
Since the tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine and a fan of the Canarinha, took over the Shakhtar, more than 30 Brazilians moved to Donetsk. The club is ready to kill nostalgia: Brazilian drivers and chefs. Willian (Chelsea and Arsenal), Douglas Costa (Juventus and Bayern) and Fernandinho (Manchester City) are some of Shakhtar’s sons. Of course, also Fred.
In 2018, he went to United in exchange for € 59 million. But Fred, again, didn’t have it easy. Nothing new. “I had to adapt, at Shakhtar I used to attack and at Manchester to defend,” he explains. Then, after the transition, after playing 37 games (34 starts), Fred became what Tite needed: Casemiro’s ideal partner. “I run an average of 12 kilometers per game,” explains the United midfielder. Tite wants balance, and for now, he can’t find anything better than Fred’s glue.