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体坛英语新闻:Zico accepts offer to lead Iraqi national soccer team

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) — Brazil’s soccer legend Artur Antunes Coimbra, better known as Zico, left the country on Saturday for Iraq, and was expected to sign a three-year contract as the head coach of the Iraqi national soccer team.

The Flamengo icon and well respected voice on the sport has collected experience with multiple clubs throughout Europe as well as coaching the Japanese national soccer team from 2002-2006. Clubs he has coached include Bunyodkor, CSKA Moscou, Fenerbahce, Kashima Antlers and Olympiakos.

On the field, Zico set the record for the most amount of goals ever scored in Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana Stadium, scoring 333 goals in 435 games. With Flamengo, Zico scored 468 goals over 731 games. In his professional career, Zico played in a total of 898 games and scored 578 goals.

The 58-year-old also worked with Flamengo for a brief period earlier in 2011, heading the department of soccer inside the club. However, differences of opinion between Zico and the club’s administration led to his early exit.

Zico was sought out to help lead the Iraqis into the 2014 World Cup, set to take place in Brazil.

The coach’s first match with Iraq will take place on September 2 against Jordan in the second phase of the 2014 World Cup Asian qualifiers in the Iraqi city of Irbil.

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