Manchester United seemed resigned to losing Carlos Queiroz, as the assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson looks set to become the next coach of the Portugal national side.
Ferguson has not given up hope of persuading Queiroz to change his mind but there is now a feeling at Old Trafford that they are about to lose a man Cristiano Ronaldo has described as “like a father”.
Queiroz, who coached Portugal between 1991 and 1993, has provisionally agreed a £1.1m deal, similar to his salary at Old Trafford, and has been offered a four-year contract.
“I cannot say much,” he said when Portuguese journalists spoke to him at Lisbon airport yesterday.
“At this moment it is out of my hands. It needs to be resolved between the federation and Manchester United and until then we have to wait calmly. I have spoken to both parties and now I am waiting for some kind of movement.”
That was the first time Queiroz has spoken about the matter since holding talks with Gilberto Madail, the federation president, last Tuesday. Madail is expecting to speak to United chief executive David Gill in Nyon today and hopes to conclude a deal within 48 hours.
Queiroz informed United of his decision over the weekend and Ferguson is already understood to be considering a replacement for him.
Queiroz joined United for the first time in 2002 before leaving for a single season in charge of Real Madrid in 2003-04. He returned to Old Trafford in 2004 and was regarded as a key figure on the training ground and enjoyed a close relationship with Ronaldo.
Whether his departure will influence Ronaldo’s future plans remains to be seen. The Portuguese winger is being puusued by Real Madrid, whose president, Ramon Calderon seems unconcerned by United’s refusal to negotiate over the player.
“We still have time,” he said. “There are two months before the end of the transfer window in August. Ron says he wants to play here and that it’s a dream. But that is a desire of the player that can’t be realised without the agreement of his club.”