Stints at Al Ain and Al Wahda allowed Tite to 'develop my work and to put into practice some ideas that were very important to me'
Brazil manager Tite 'very grateful' for spells in UAE football
On Friday evening Tite will be found barking instructions in Portuguese at Neymar as Brazil face Belgium for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.
Yet a little more than a decade ago the now-venerated manager was trying to speak Arabic in Al Ain.
“Mashi al koora” was Tite's preferred phrase, an instruction delivered to his players to keep the ball moving. The 57-year-old's reign in the Garden City lasted only five months between August and December 2007 yet he returned three years later to take the reins at Al Wahda.
On Thursday, on the eve of the most important match of his career, the Brazilian spoke glowingly of his two spells in the UAE, telling reporters gathered in the east Russian city of Kazan that his time in the Emirates was crucial to his personal development as a tactician.
“I am very grateful to [Mohammed] Khalfan [Al Rumaithi], who was the director at Al Ain,” Tite said. “He allowed me to develop my work and to put into practice some ideas that were very important to me as a form of growth.
"I developed a lot of my theory with Al Ain, exercising two lines of four with two attackers, trying different positions and functions that would maybe play out, fluctuations that happen during games, compacting the play.”
Tite’s move to Al Ain was his first outside of Brazil and as well as tactical knowledge, he also learnt a lot about the challenges involved with coaching abroad. It is insight that may yet benefit him should he end up working in Europe, as has been speculated in recent months.
“I also got to know a different culture and understand better the level of difficulty involved in working with an interpreter,” he said. “This all helped me a lot and strengthened me as a coach. It was a big challenge, man, and I’m very grateful for it.”