Zico quits as Flamengo director after four months

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RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) -- Former Brazil captain Zico has quit as director of his beloved Flamengo after only four months, saying that rivalries within the country's most popular club had made his life impossible.

"It's not possible to do what I want with Flamengo," said Zico, who is considered one of Brazil's greatest players, and was executive director of football at the club. "I've noticed that my presence has not been favorable and has caused discontent among a lot of people," Zico added in a statement posted on his website (www.ziconarede.com.br) in the early hours of Friday morning.

"It's not possible for me to continue," he said, adding that his opponents had been criticising his sons to get at him.

"I've been unfairly attacked, mainly via my sons, who have not been involved at any time, and this goes against the values and concepts I learned with my father.

"I can't allow this cowardly feud to continue using my family."

"Today, my grandson Alberto was born but Flamengo died in my heart," added Zico, who coached Japan at the 2006 World Cup and led Fenerbahce to the Champions League quarter-finals in 2008.

Flamengo won the Brazilian championship last year but risk relegation this season.

During Zico's short return to the club, Rogerio Lourenco was sacked as coach and replaced by former Brazil midfielder Silas, who himself is now in danger of being fired.

Zico is the most popular player the club has produced, having played in a golden generation which won three Brazilian championship titles, the South American Libertadores Cup and the World Club championship.

Flamengo claim to have 25 million supporters in Brazil but the club is notorious for its political in-fighting as well as the enormous pressure placed on coaches and players.