Émerson Leão

"Leão" redirects here. For other uses, see Leão (disambiguation).
Personal information
Full name Émerson Leão
Date of birth (1949-07-11) July 11, 1949
Place of birth Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1968–1970 Comercial ? (?)
1971–1978 Palmeiras 163 (0)
1979–1980 Vasco da Gama 24 (0)
1981–1982 Grêmio 46 (0)
1983 Corinthians 13 (0)
1984–1985 Palmeiras 31 (0)
1986 Sport Recife 0 (0)
National team
1969–1986 Brazil 80 (0)
Teams managed
1987–1988 Sport Recife
1988–1989 Coritiba
1989–1990 Palmeiras
1990–1992 Portuguesa
1990–1991 São José
1991–1992 XV de Piracicaba
1992–1994 Shimizu S-Pulse
1995–1996 Juventude
1996 Atlético Paranaense
1996 Verdy Kawasaki
1997–1998 Atlético Mineiro
1998–1999 Santos
1999 Internacional
2000 Grêmio
2000 Sport Recife
2000–2001 Brazil
2002–2004 Santos
2004 Cruzeiro
2004–2005 São Paulo
2005 Vissel Kobe
2005–2006 Palmeiras
2006 São Caetano
2006–2007 Corinthians
2007 Atlético Mineiro
2008 Santos
2008–2009 Al-Sadd
2009 Atlético Mineiro
2009 Sport Recife
2010 Goiás
2011–2012 São Paulo
2012 São Caetano

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of June 3, 2012.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of December 12, 2008

Émerson Leão (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɛmeʁsõ leˈɐ̃w]; born July 11, 1949) is a Brazilian head coach and former football player. He is one of the all-time best Brazilian goalkeepers. A documentary video produced by FIFA, FIFA Fever, called him the third-most impressive defense player of all time. He was born in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo.

Playing career

He was World Cup champion in 1970 as a reserve player, when he was twenty years old. He then played the two following World Cups as first team player. He was the first Brazilian goalkeeper in history to be team captain (during the 1978 World Cup). Dida repeated the feat in 2006 in a group stage match against Japan. In the 1986 World Cup, Leão was a reserve player.

He played 80 times for the Brazilian national football team. At the club level, he played for several clubs, his longest term being at Palmeiras, where he won several titles, like Campeonato Brasileiro and Campeonato Paulista.

Playing honours




Club performance League
Season Club League Apps Goals
Brazil League
1971PalmeirasSérie A240
1979Vasco da GamaSérie A140
1981GrêmioSérie A230
1983CorinthiansSérie A130
1984PalmeirasSérie A140
1986Sport RecifeSérie A00
Country Brazil 2770
Total 2770
Brazil national team

Managerial career

Leão has been a manager since 1987. He was São Paulo manager in 2005, winning the Campeonato Paulista of that year. He then moved to Vissel Kobe of Japan, where he stayed for only four matches. On July 18, 2005 he became Palmeiras' manager, a position he held until March, 2006. His peak as a manager was his second period at Santos, between 2002 and 2004, when he won the Campeonato Brasileiro in 2002, and was runner-up in both Copa Libertadores de América and Campeonato Brasileiro in 2003. Leão is often seen as a hardliner, since he demands perfect physical shape of his players, along with discipline and mutual respect. He is not fond of having well-known players on his teams, since he believes that this might cause relationship problems within the squad.

He was Brazilian national football team manager from November 15, 2000 until June 9, 2001. Of eleven matches, he won four, drew four, and lost three. Like his predecessor Vanderlei Luxemburgo, he struggled having top players available for qualifying matches. He tried to center the team around Romário and younger players with hardly any international experience. He also became the first sitting coach to travel to Europe to assess his players' activities there, where he was asked by the Europeans to not release Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos for matches that were not crucial.

Leão was dismissed by Atlético Mineiro on May 4, 2009, following a defeat to arch-rivals Cruzeiro in the final of a regional championship. This ended his third stint as Atlético head coach.[3] On June 3, 2009 Sport Recife's have signed the coach for the up-coming 2009 Brasileirão championship, Leão was dismissed by Atlético Mineiro in May.[4] On April 26, 2010 Leão was named as the new Goias Esporte Clube manager. On October 24, 2011, São Paulo says it has hired Emerson Leao for a second spell in charge of the club.[5]

On August 30, 2012, after two months unattached, Emerson Leão was hired for Brazilian side São Caetano, that plays Campeonato Brasileiro Série B.[6]


Leão is known for his controversial attitudes and declarations.

In 1997, after a game between Clube Atlético Mineiro, that Leão coached then, and Club Atlético Lanús of Argentina, valid for Conmebol Cup final, the manager involved in a massive fight with adversaries. Leão had to rebuild his face after the incident.

In 2002, when he coached Santos, and Peixe faced Paysandu, Leão was involved again in a fight. This time, when his players faced policemen, the coach received an aggression in his eyes by a pepper spray.

In 2006, then coaching Palmeiras, Leão had problems with television pundit Milton Neves, that had kicked another television pundit, Sílvio Luiz, according to Leão. Leão said to Neves: "When you kicked Silvio Luiz's ass, a 70-year-old man, you boasted. Come to kick mine!"[7]

In 2010, training Goiás, Leão discussed again with two another television pundits, Renata Fan and Neto. According to Leão, Neto "would not have psychological conditions to speak in a television channel". But the problems between them would happen since 1989, when Leão coached Neto in Palmeiras.[8][9]

In 2013, in research made for sportive site UOL Esporte, Leão was elected the worst coach from Brazil. He had 16 votes. Celso Roth was chosen the second one.[10]

Again in 2013, Leão said that Juvenal Juvêncio, president of São Paulo, club that he coached for two times (between 2004 and 2005 and, after, between 2011 and 2012), should abdicate, for his age, of his position, making like pope Benedict XVI. Juvêncio answered to Leão, saying that the coach "needs to find another job soon".[11][12]

Managerial statistics


Team From To Record
Shimizu S-Pulse 1993 1994 58 40 0 18 68.97
Verdy Kawasaki 1996 1996 18 13 0 5 72.22
Vissel Kobe 2005 2005 4 1 1 2 25.00
Total 80 54 1 25 67.50

Coaching honours


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