Chelsea have confirmed that Luiz Felipe Scolari will become their next manager.
Scolari, who is currently leading Portugal at Euro 2008, will take up his new role on July 1. There was the suggestion last night that Scolari gave Chelsea permission to make the announcement once he knew that Portugal had qualified for the latter stages of the tournament.
“Chelsea Football Club is delighted to confirm that Luiz Felipe Scolari will be the club’s new manager from July 1, 2008,” read a club statement.
“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.”
The Portuguese football federation confirmed the deal on its Web site, saying Scolari would not extend its contract with Portugal after the finals in Austria and Switzerland because of the Chelsea offer.
The statement said the Portugal Football Federation (FPF) was “sure the whole technical team, players and remaining staff will be as committed or more so in reaching the objective planned for Euro 2008.
“Given the superior interests of the national team (FPF president Gilberto Madail and Scolari) will not make any comments on the matter until the end of the (team’s) participation at Euro 2008,” it added.
Since sacking Avram Grant last month, Chelsea had been linked with a number of high-profile coaches, with Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti understood to have been the favoured candidate, until the Italian ruled himself out of contention.
Scolari has yet to coach at club level in Europe and his last stint in charge of a club side was back in 2001 when he managed Brazilian side Palmeiras. He made his name in Brazil with Gremio, winning Copa Brasil in 1994 and Libertadores Cup the following year. As coach of Palmeiras from 1997-2000, he enjoyed another Libertadores Cup success.
He subsequently led Brazil to World Cup success in 2002 before later taking on the Portugal job and leading the host nation to the final of Euro 2004.