How many months are left until the World Cup? How do you manage your anxiety? How am I? I’m waiting, but I’m focused. We reached the World Cup; now it’s time to reach the finals and become a champion. It is true. At the last World Cup, I was a manager due to other circumstances [Dunga was fired in 2016 and Tite took over]. Now I have the opportunity to complete a four-year cycle. Expectations are high, but the focus is on work.
I have employees with great values and credentials. And an unusual family. If I didn’t have a wife [Rosi], I would not be where I am. I lose myself, I hit the roof, I don’t sleep at night like everyone else. But I have a partner who supports me, a family who supports me. I draw strength from my family, my work, and my morale.
Are you afraid of something? The pressure we face is a problem: responsibility, job pressure, demands. When I was a fan, I wanted the team to be the best. This is what moves us. But mental health is important. I think Mandela said, “Courage is the ability to face fear.” There was fear in every decision he made. When I read this, I saw that I am a normal citizen. I have fears, nightmares, small gases. Fear but no fear; fear and dread are different.
I also read what Tostão [a Brazil legend who won the 1970 World Cup] He said: “Fame creates division in man – it builds the creature and impoverishes the creature.” I have to look at Adenor [Tite’s real first name]. Adenor has a life: he will continue to be a father, a grandfather. But he does not want to be measured. If he wins, he is the best. If not, he is insulted. I do not understand. When I speak, I speak for the whole team. No one has a monopoly on the truth. We need to think about different points of view and are open to well-debated ideas. It’s not about winning at any cost.
Alex Ferguson says great professionals are constantly competing with each other to improve. Do you know why? If I compare myself with someone else, I get angry and hurt. At times I will be better, at other times I will be worse. I have to keep myself sane and sane.
Do you feel bad when you are criticized, as you did last year? It takes time to understand. The works are best seen at a distance, when finished. We have results. What are people waiting for? We broke the record [for the most points] in the classification stage. We have the longest unbeaten streak: 12 games [under Tite in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup] and now 17 games unbeaten [in the 2022 qualifiers]. That’s 29 games.
It is very difficult in the South American selections. He scored 13 goals more than Argentina in 17 games. We returned to the first place in the FIFA rankings. We became champions  America’s Cup. Second place [in 2021]. We didn’t win last time, but there was a whole process over a difficult, troubled moment full of a number of problems that I didn’t want to go deeper. [Brazil took over hosting rights from Colombia and Argentina amid the pandemic but were criticised for doing so while tens of thousands were dying in the country]. We kept the door clean in 13 of the 17 selections; The average goal we scored in each game was more than 2.5. I would also like to point out that no one wanted to play Copa America, and everyone did [then] president [of Brazil’s football federation, Rogério Caboclo].
Brazil is the most envied team? I’ll tell you a story. The Italian coach made fun of Miranda [the Brazil defender, then at Internazionale, after Brazil were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup by Belgium]: “How does it feel to lose to Belgium?” I heard this from Miranda and told Miranda that she [the Italian coach] He will never know this feeling, because he has never trained for a nation like Brazil or his own nation. This is envy. So he asked him. Many are jealous of Brazil. They do not admit it. It is perhaps the most envied team in the world.
It is disrespectful and jealous. This is my legacy, our legacy, the history of Pele, Zagallo, Tostão, Garrincha. If Zagallo is criticized, how can I not be? Is Brazil the most jealous? I think so, but when I go out, everyone asks me how I can cope with the pressure of being the head coach of the Brazilian national team.
Recently, Neymar said that he was tired and that this World Cup could be his last. Worried about Neymar? Did you talk to him about it? “Soon,” you said. We need to pay attention to when this happens [the interview was released last October but had been recorded months earlier, either soon after PSG had lost a Champions League semi-final or Brazil had lost the Copa final]. If I had spoken immediately after being removed from the cup, I would have been very upset. This must be contextualized. We are talking to all the players, including Neymar, about their physical, technical, tactical and mental preparation for the decisive games. We transmit insights. There will always be great expectations for Neymar’s greatness. But now it is diluted. These are Neymar, but also Vinicius, Raphinha; Tiaqo [Silva] again at a high level, in Paquetá, Casemiro, Fabinho.
Is Neymar your best player or is it Vinicius’ time? Neymar is Neymar. He remains our biggest star. Now the difference is that the glare is also diluted by nearby stars that can shine. Neymar’s greatness is that he understands this – it’s about the growth of children. He encourages the boys to rise to a level. Time and experience ensure this maturity.
What will it be like to play in the World Cup without a mother? He died in 2019 My mother’s naivety … was beautiful. When he won the America’s Cup, he asked me if it was bigger than the World Cup. Honey … That’s why I explained that this is not the same cup, but it is very difficult. I’m comfortable. What I do is their will. [Tite gets teary-eyed.] I am fulfilling my father’s will. He was my first coach. I know I’m proud of them. My mother has always given me great confidence, and my father has given me a love of sports. I am good, they have light and energy.
I can play football with my grandchildren for only 15 minutes. I can’t do more because they are too tense. Then the grandmothers go to play with them for a while. I can’t stay away from football. This is my pleasure, my satisfaction.
I have a lot of videos and games to watch, but there are also moments with my family. I like to be with Rosi and walk with her. I love books, chimarrao [maté], coffee, being with my children and grandchildren. I love movies. I read a lot – it strengthens me. But I don’t turn it off; I always ask you to write something.
Will this World Cup determine your future? Of course. If you win the World Cup, you will get an open market. You can choose. I will not lie: my idea is definitely not to work in Brazil. I want to spend a year with my family, take a year off, study, and not take any responsibility because the responsibility is too great. If something comes from outside, it will happen. Now I have the responsibility and joy of being Selechao’s coach. I’m not going to talk to anyone.
Did you have any offers to take over the European club before? Yes, Real Madrid and Sporting. What I like is that when they are interested in a professional at a European club, they negotiate to explain what they need. This is really nice. There was another club that wanted to talk to me and I said no: PSG [after Unai Emery left in May 2018]. They wanted to talk to me, and I won’t say; I do not want and will not. I do not want to reveal this possibility of anything else. I want to focus on my work. Then another story.
At the World Cup [just before the 2018 tournament]they are [Madrid] He said they wanted to talk, and I said no, I won’t talk, don’t approach. I want to reconcile with myself and my work. I do my best. When you do something in parallel, it doesn’t do it completely. I can’t do that. I received offers from Real Madrid, PSG and Sporting. But I didn’t want that. I want to win the World Cup. I will decide my future after the World Cup.