Cuca steps down as Corinthians boss after one week amid fan outrage for 1987 conviction

Cuca spent just two matches in charge of Corinthians.">

Alexi "Cuca" Stival has stepped down as Corinthians boss after fan outrage over a 1987 rape conviction, although the club's president left open the door for his return, saying he "regrets" his departure.

The Sao-Paulo based club announced on Thursday that Cuca has left after just two games in charge, citing a request from his family "to resolve private matters."

Cuca's hiring on April 20 had been met with outrage by a section of club members and fans. The 59-year-old was convicted in absentia in 1987 by a Swiss court to 15 months' imprisonment for engaging in a sexual act with a minor two years earlier while playing for Gremio, a sentence he never served because he left the country before the conviction.

Cuca has always denied any wrongdoing.

However, club president Duilio Monteiro Alves said he does not regret appointing Cuca and would do so again.

"I am sorry and upset that Cuca is leaving today," he said. "We can only regret his departure today ... I think he is and would be a professional who could help us a lot with his experience, his trajectory, his curriculum. We even talked about him staying, but unfortunately, he thought it was better to leave to resolve this situation and one day be able to return with peace of mind to be able to work at Corinthians."

Wednesday's home win on penalties against Remo-PA in the Copa do Brasil third round was Cuca's second and last game in charge of Corinthians.

Corinthians players hugged Cuca after that game following what Monteiro Alves described as "terrible days" due to the negative response of his hiring.

Prior to Cuca's unveiling last Friday, a section of fans gathered outside the club's headquarters to voice their discontent.

Members of the Corinthians women's team, including coach Arthur Elias, issued a joint statement on their social media on Sunday with the slogan "Respect women."

However, Elias later claimed the joint statement was not directed at Cuca, instead saying it was a "general" message.

A statement on Wednesday issued by Cuca's representatives read: "He [Cuca] refutes the accusations attributed to him, which date back to more than thirty years and which were investigated at the time. The coach continues to carry out his work with honesty ... and for this reason, he will not tolerate insults or offenses against his suitability, character and integrity."

It is not the first time Cuca has faced backlash over his past. A number of Atletico Mineiro fans protested Cuca's hiring as their manager in February 2021. He later left the club by mutual consent.

Corinthians play at Palmeiras in Saturday's Paulista derby, with Cuca's predecessor, Fernando Lazaro, expected to take temporary charge until a new manager is appointed.