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It was Valentine’s Day, 1985, and Renato Gaucho, confined in a training camp with the Brazilian national team when he’s asked for an interview with TV Globo. He took this place before the cameras holding a bouquet of flowers. "I would like to dedicate this flower to my love," he said, throwing the one to the camera, before continuing. "This one here is for my other love, Carla. This is for the memorable Patricia, this is for you, Zilda, my love. For Maria. For Monica, I will never forget you, my dear".
Known for his outspoken bravado and a bonafide sex symbol throughout the '80s and '90s, the then-Gremio striker later revealed that those were indeed not to the names of his current or former loves, but rather those of his national team colleague’s mothers. It was Renato Gaúcho at his best.
When Pelé once mentioned he scored more than 1,000 goals, Renato Gaucho replied, "One for every woman I have slept with". Boastful, vain, Renato was born in Guapore, Rio Grande do Sul - his nickname Gaucho derives from the state of his birthplace, whose capital, Porto Alegre, is home to Gremio. The now 56-year-old coach is the greatest idol in the club’s history - a status cemented in 2017 when he led the to the Copa Libertadores as coach, becoming the only Brazilian to lift the title as both a player and a coach.
He first achieved legendary status in 1983 when he was the star man for Gremio, scoring two goals in their 2-1 win over Hamburg SV of Germany to lead his club to the intercontinental Cup title, making them world champions.
Renato Gaucho has an everlasting connection with the Imortal Tricolor, but is equally well-known outside of his hometown as the archetypal carioca playboy, having spent most of his playing career in Rio de Janeiro, with four spells at Flamengo, while also turning out for Fluminense and Botafogo.. His accent is typical of a Rio native, he loves flash cars and, above all, could not live without playing foot-volley on the beach every day. During a recent sabbatical before taking charge of Gremio for the third time in 2016, he did not follow the trend of Brazilian coaches to spend a year out in Europe learning from the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola or Zinedine Zidane. He instead hit the beach. "Those who need to learn and study can go to Europe. Those that don't can go to the beach. Football is like riding a bike. Those that know, just know," he insists.
Deeply proud of his achievements both on and off the pitch, Renato Gaucho flexed his muscles in 2017 ahead of his side’s Club World Cup showdown with Real Madrid by insisting even a certain Cristiano Ronaldo could barely hold a torch to the legend of Renato Gaucho.
"Without a doubt, I think I was better than him,” Renato claimed. "I would like to see Cristiano Ronaldo playing for the clubs I played for - some of them never even paid us for three or four months - and winning trophies like I did". Renato's European experience as a footballer only lasted as long as a single season at AS Roma, in 1988-89. At the international level, he was dropped from Brazil's 1986 World Cup squad after iconic manager Tele Santana discovered him and a teammate sneaking back into the hotel after a night on the town. Four years later, he had limited opportunities in Italy as Brazil were eliminated by Argentina. But that never bothered him too much, an early exit meant more time on the beach.