In the Thai first division, a Brazilian coach collects good numbers and hopes to return to Brazil

Gabriel Magalhães leads Chiangrai United in the Thai first division, approaching 50 games and a year and a half in charge of the team
Josué Seixas
2024-04-16 16:46:26

Asian football has always been open to Brazilian football, especially in Thailand. It’s no wonder that, today, out of the 16 teams in the top division, three have Brazilian coaches: Jorginho (formerly of Vasco and Flamengo) leads Buriram United, Alexandre Gama (formerly of Fluminense) is at Lamphun Warrior, and Gabriel Magalhães (formerly of Corinthians and Fortaleza) commands Chiangrai United.

Of the three, 40-year-old Gabriel Magalhães is undoubtedly the youngest, but nothing can overshadow his 15 years of experience in football. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Gabriel was never a player. He was a fan in the stands who studied physical education and gradually immersed himself in football through specialization and study. He started as an assistant coach and performance analyst, worked in youth categories, and eventually rose to the position of assistant coach and, finally, head coach.


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“I have always been passionate about football since I was young. There came a point in my life when I decided that I simply could not work with anything other than football, so I started studying, specializing, and interacting with more experienced people who were already in the world of football. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I even took a course to become a referee, but in the end, I chose the technical area, and after that, I fully committed,” said the coach.

Studies as a Foundation

Always eager to learn, Magalhães believed that studies would be his way to stand out in the market. Through the CBF Academy, he obtained the five most important licenses of his career. He started with Performance Analysis, progressed through C, B, and A Licenses, and finally achieved the PRO License in 2016, the highest football specialization in Brazil. He is also a specialist in individual tactical positioning, holds a postgraduate degree in crisis and conflict management, is a technical football manager from the University of Football, and is licensed in offensive play, also from the CBF Academy, among others.

“Nowadays, in football, if you don’t study, you are nobody. It’s practically impossible to break into the field without seeking technical qualifications, and that’s what I did. Fluency in English, for example, gave me the chance to be here. Without it, they wouldn’t have even looked at my resume or sought more information,” said Magalhães.

With the PRO License, Magalhães obtained certification in the same class as Tite (Flamengo), Cuca (Athletico), Rogério Ceni (Bahia), Mano Menezes, Jorginho (1994 World Cup winner), Zé Ricardo, Barbieri (Juárez-MEX), Odair Hellmann (Al-Riyadh), Marcão (assistant coach at Fluminense), Marcelo Chamusca (Al-Faisaly FC, Saudi Arabia), and many other football figures.

Experience at Corinthians

But anyone who thinks that performance analysis and assistant roles have little significance in Gabriel’s career is mistaken. At Corinthians, where he was from 2016 to 2020, he was one of the people responsible for CADI (Center for Performance Analysis and Information Intelligence), an intelligence platform that enhances the performance of the club’s youth players and stores information on all club players. Later, still at Corinthians, he joined the CIFUT team, primarily responsible for analyzing Corinthians’ opponents in the professional season.

“I took several football-related courses, but undoubtedly some of my biggest learnings came from Corinthians. There, I had the opportunity to work alongside experienced figures like Fábio Carille (Santos), Tiago Nunes (Universidad Católica-CHI), Jair Ventura (Atlético-GO), Eduardo Barroca (Avai), and many others who taught me a lot about football and tactical concepts. Without a doubt, Corinthians was a great school,” said Gabriel Magalhães.