FRISCO - FC Dallas’ new Technical Director André Zanotta comes with an impressive resume. In addition to his law degree, he received an MBA in Management, Law, & Humanities of Sport from the FIFA Master Program—one of Europe’s most prestigious sports programs wherein candidates study at universities in England, Italy and Switzerland.
Zanotta’s employment history is no less impressive than his education. Beginning in 2012, he served as sporting director for Santos FC in Brazil’s first division where he helped the club win its 20th State Championship and its first Recopa Sudamerica title. In additional to trophies, Zanotta was a vital part of the club’s transfer committee, overseeing player sales and acquisitions.
Among his many transfer negotiations, Zanotta was involved in one of Brazil’s most high-profile transfer sagas: Neymar’s transfer from Santos to FC Barcelona in 2013.
“At that moment, Neymar was by far the best player in Brazilian soccer,” Zanotta said. “In the end, it narrowed down to two clubs: Real Madrid and Barcelona were fighting for him. We started negotiating with both, but his preference would be going with Barcelona. It was not an easy negotiation because obviously it’s one of the biggest names in Brazilian soccer in the last years, maybe the biggest. But it ended up being a good transfer for him. I think Santos could get something good out of it as well.”
Zanotta’s experience of high-level international transfers could serve his new club well. As FC Dallas, and Major League Soccer as a whole, extend their network of buying and selling players to and from foreign leagues, Zanotta’s knowledge of the international market could prove to be an invaluable asset.
Apart from his international transfer expertise, Zanotta comes with an inherent understanding of FC Dallas’ ethos of developing and promoting players from within. Before accepting his position at FC Dallas, Zanotta was executive director of Brazilian club, Grêmio—a team famed for its ability to produce top-level players including the legendary Ronaldinho and current Barcelona midfielder Arthur.
Despite having helped bring titles to some of Brazil’s biggest clubs, Zanotta knows his new role with FC Dallas will not be an easy one.
“I feel this is the greatest challenge of my career so far,” Zanotta said. “I was with Grêmio last year and we had a very successful two seasons. We were the vice-champions in the FIFA Club World Cup. But coming here, I could feel the development of MLS and how the league has grown and how it’s attracting players much more. I hope I can contribute with my experience to bring Dallas to an even higher level.”