Scolari to leave Portugal for Chelsea

June 12th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 12 (IANS) Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari has been confirmed as the new manager of Chelsea, the English Premiership club said. The Brazilian, who is currently managing Portugal, had been one of the favourites to succeed Avram Grant at Stamford Bridge, but the timing of his appointment comes as big surprise for the English fans. Scolari was not expected to make a decision about his future until after the tournament.

“Chelsea Football Club is delighted to confirm that Luiz Felipe Scolari will be the club’s new manager from July 1, 2008,” the London club said in a statement Wednesday.

“Felipe has great qualities. He is one of the world’s top coaches with a record of success at country and club level, he gets the best out of a talented squad of players and his ambitions and expectations match ours.

“He was the outstanding choice. Out of respect for his current role as head coach of the Portuguese national team, and to ensure minimum disruption to this work, there will be no further comment from Chelsea FC nor from Felipe about his new role until his employment with us commences.”

Scolari was also interested in coaching Chelsea and he said Tuesday that he would have no problems swapping Lisbon for London. Scolari’s contract with Portugal expires after the Euro 2008, which finishes June 29.

Chelsea sacked its coach Avam Grant last month, despite the Israeli taking the London club to the finals of the Champions League, where they lost to Manchester United.

Grant was named the coach mid-season after the controversial exit of Mourinho, who won two Premier League titles for Chelsea before falling out with the club’s owner Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

After Grant’s departure, some of the prominent names like sacked Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini, ex-Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard and Russia coach Guus Hiddink were in race for the top post at Stamford Bridge.

Scolari led Brazil to the 2002 FIFA World Cup title and Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 on home soil. This time also Portugal are favourites to win the Euro.

The Brazilian, nicknamed Felipao (Big Phil) in his native Brazil, is known for his hot temper but is regarded as one of the best coaches in the world for his impressive record.

During his stint with Brazilian clubs Gremio, Palmeiras and Cruzeiro, he won several domestic honours as coach and has also worked in Saudi Arabia. He becomes the fourth coach at Chelsea since Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

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