Matheus Cunha or Rossi? Who should be Flamengo’s starter against Athletico-PR?

This Wednesday (13), starting at 9:30 pm (Brasília time), Flamengo will face Athletico-PR, at the Kléber Andrade Stadium (Cariacica, Espírito Santo), in a game valid for the 23rd round of the Brazilian Championship. For the match, a question looms over coach Jorge Sampaoli’s mind and has given the red and black fans something to talk about: who should start in the team’s goal? Matheus Cunha or Rossi?

Augustín Rossi arrived at Flamengo at the beginning of July and, since then, he hasn’t even played a game with the red-black shirt. The Argentine archer spent 14 games on the bench since being announced by the club and is expected to make his debut this Wednesday (13), against Athletico-PR. However, Matheus Cunha’s early return from the Olympic team could frustrate the former Boca Juniors goalkeeper’s plans.

Flamengo’s technical committee had in fact been preparing Rossi’s debut in recent days, as Matheus Cunha would not participate in any pre-game activities throughout the week. However, as mentioned, this may not happen, as Mais Querido’s starting goalkeeper returned to Brazil early after the cancellation of the Olympic Team’s friendly against Morocco, due to an earthquake in the African country.

Matheus Cunha trains normally and ‘starts’ at the front in dispute with Rossi

Back at Flamengo, Matheus Cunha introduced himself to the club this Tuesday (12) and normally participated in activities at CT Ninho do Urubu. Xodó and Jorge Sampaoli’s starter, the young 22-year-old goalkeeper was listed for the trip to Espírito Santo and has a good chance of starting playing.

Rossi, in turn, maintains his hopes of starting for Flamengo for the first time. The goalkeeper, who had a short spell at Al-Nassr before arriving in Rio de Janeiro, has been training well at Ninho do Urubu and has reached the desired physical and technical levels in recent weeks.

Fans’ opinion on who should be the starter

Matheus Cunha grew in production in 2023 and became an absolute starter in Flamengo’s goal with the arrival of Sampaoli. The goalkeeper, however, is not unanimous among fans. There are those who defend the young man and his sudden rise in the season. On the other hand, many red and black people say they don’t trust Cunha, especially after the archer’s failures in eliminating Mais Querido in the Libertadores, against Olimpia, in Paraguay.

Amid the return of Matheus Cunha from the Olympic Team and the possibility of Ninho’s son ‘preventing’ Rossi’s debut, Flamengo fans began to debate the topic on social media. Despite the fierce dispute, the Argentine goalkeeper’s name seems more popular among the red and black.

Matheus Cunha’s career at Flamengo

Before arriving at Flamengo, Matheus Cunha played for São Paulo’s youth teams from under-15 to under-20. After being left out of the Tricolor squad, the goalkeeper was hired by Rubro-Negro in the 2020 season, in a first for the club’s under-20 team.

Last year he made his professional debut at Mais Querido against Portuguesa, on January 26th, in a match valid for the Campeonato Carioca. However, it was in the current season that he began to be successful with the red-black shirt. There are 35 matches played in 2023 and 28 goals conceded so far.

Career of Augustín Rossi

Augustín Rossi was born in Buenos Aires and began his career in the youth teams of Chacarita Jrs, in 2013. He played for Estudiantes and Defensa y Justicia before moving to Boca Juniors, in the 2017 season. Two years later, the goalkeeper was loaned to Antofagasta, from Chile, and the Argentinean Lanús. He returned to Boca in 2020, when he managed to continue as a starter.

Since joining Boca Juniors, the 1.90 meter tall goalkeeper has started to win over the passionate Xeneize fans, especially due to his high percentage of penalty saves. In total, he made 16 interventions in 41 shots, a number that places him as the third archer who saved the most penalties in the club’s history, behind only Abbondanzieri (24) and Navarro Montoya (20).

Matheus Cunha or Rossi?  Who should be Flamengo's starter against Athletico-PR?
Augustín Rossi, Flamengo goalkeeper (Photo: Icon Sport)

In 2022, Rossi was voted the best player in Argentine football and helped Boca Juniors win both national titles (Argentine League Cup and Argentine Championship). In the aforementioned season, he was on the field in 46 games, was blocked 35 times and made 23 difficult saves.

At the beginning of 2023, the 28-year-old archer chose not to renew with Boca and ended up being loaned to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, before joining Flamengo. For the Arab club, he only entered the field eight times and was not missed.

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