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Cuca leaves Corinthians over sexual assault conviction

Brazilian giants Corinthians announced the departure of coach Cuca on Thursday, just a week after hiring him, amid a decades-old sexual assault scandal.

Cuca, whose real name is Alexi Stival, was sentenced in 1989 in Switzerland alongside two other footballers to 15 months in prison for having participated in the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl.

The conviction related to a trip to Bern in 1987 where his team at the time, Gremio, were taking part in a friendly tournament.

He was back in Brazil by the time of his conviction.

As Brazil does not extradite its nationals, Cuca, who denies the accusations, never severed his sentence.

“Cuca has left his position at the request of his family to resolve personal issues. We wish him success in the rest of his career,” said Corinthians in a statement posted to its official website.

The 59-year-old only took over the reins at the Sao Paulo club last Thursday following the sacking of Fernando Lazaro.

He took charge of just two matches, losing a league encounter and winning a cup game on penalties.

Cuca had said following Wednesday night’s Cup match against Remo that he was on his way out.

“I will leave now, it’s not what I want. I waited a lifetime to be here,” he lamented, before adding that it was what his family wanted.

The conviction did not prevent Cuca from enjoying a successful coaching career, notably lifting the Copa Libertadores — South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League — with Atletico Mineiro in 2013, when attacking great Ronaldinho was the star player.

In a similar case, former Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan forward Robinho was sentenced in Italy to nine years in prison for a 2013 rape, but he lives freely in Brazil.

Italian authorities have requested that he serve his sentence in Brazil but such a process could take years to resolve.

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