“Leão” redirects here. For other uses, see Leão (disambiguation).
Émerson Leão (born on July 11, 1949, in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo) is a Brazilian manager 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 defence player of all time.
He played 105 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.
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.
Some people say that he should have resigned when Brazil was forced to send a second-rated team to the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup in Korea and Japan, but he stayed on for a fourth-place finish that included two losses to France and Australia. These two losses contributed to a four-match losing streak that was the first to Brazil since 1921. As he was about to leave Narita Airport for a 24 hour flight back to Brazil following the tournament, he was handed a termination letter.
While commanding the Brazilian national team, he often promised attractive play along with great results, but the team failed to follow through. He was harshly criticized during this period for calling up largely unknown players.