SAO PAULO – Mano Menezes became the new coach of Brazil's national soccer team Saturday, one day after first choice Muricy Ramalho turned down the job because of his contract with Fluminense.
Menezes will coach the team through the 2014 World Cup, which will take place in Brazil for the first time since 1950.
"I am here today in front of all of Brazil to say that I have agreed with satisfaction and pride to coach the national team," Menezes told a news conference. "I have a habit of accepting important invitations, for they are always major challenges. I have always dreamed of one day becoming the national team's coach, and that day came sooner than I expected."
The news conference was briefly interrupted when a group of Corinthians players, including Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, barged in to congratulate and embrace Menezes.
Corinthians president Andres Sanchez released Menezes from his contract.
"I am not one to stand in the way of a professional advancing in his career," Sanchez said. "I would never do anything to destroy the dreams of a human being, especially one like Mano, who has helped our team so much."
The Brazilian Football Federation said Friday that Menezes had earned respect for his work at Brazilian clubs Gremio and Corinthians in which he had shown a desire to promote young talents.
Menezes led Corinthians to the Brazilian Cup title last year after helping the club return to the first division following relegation in 2007. He also brought Gremio back into the first division in 2005. In 2007, he led the team to a runner-up finish in the Copa Libertadores, Latin America's top club competition.
On Monday, Menezes will announce the Brazilian squad for the Aug. 10 exhibition game against the United States in New Jersey.
Other names touted for the position included World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari and former Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo.
Scolari led Brazil to the World Cup title in 2002 and is a favorite of the fans, but he recently signed a two-year contract to coach four-time Brazilian champion Palmeiras and hinted he would not be available to the national team until 2012.
Associated Press Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.