Soccer

Fluminense hires former Brazil coach Luxemburgo

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SAO PAULO (AP)

Brazil champion Fluminense hired coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo on Tuesday to try to put the team back on track after five straight losses in the Brazilian league.

The signing of the former Brazil and Real Madrid coach was announced a day after Abel Braga was fired following a 2-0 loss to Gremio, a result that left the team in the relegation zone with only nine points from as many matches.

''This team lost only three matches when it won the 2012 Brazilian title,'' Luxemburgo said. ''We have to restore that type of confidence to try to put Fluminense back atop of the standings, which is where it belongs.''

The 61-year-old Luxemburgo signed a contract with Fluminense until the end of the year. Financial details were not disclosed.

The contract could not be longer because there will be elections at the club in the beginning of 2014.

''The goal will be to secure Fluminense in next year's Copa Libertadores and hopefully we will be able to contend for the league title as well,'' he said.

The top four clubs will be guaranteed a spot in the 2014 Copa Libertadores, a tournament Fluminense has never won. Luxemburgo also hasn't won Latin America's most important club competition.

Luxemburgo is the coach with the most Brazilian league titles - five. He led Brazil to the 1999 Copa America title but left the national team after failing to win the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics.

Luxemburgo, who was with Real Madrid in 2005, was fired by Gremio earlier this year following a series of poor results.

Many Fluminense fans were against the firing of Braga and the hiring of Luxemburgo, who has always said that he cheers for rival Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club.

''That's not going to change,'' the coach said. ''But make no mistake about it, I will want to beat Flamengo every time we face them. I want to win with Fluminense.''

His first match in charge will be on Wednesday at the Maracana Stadium against league leader Cruzeiro, which is nine points in front of the Rio de Janeiro club.

Fluminense, a four-time Brazilian champion, is led by Brazil striker Fred and former Chelsea and Portugal playmaker Deco.

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