London-based club Chelsea has appointed Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari as new manager as soon as the Euro 2008 is finished. He had been considered the top favorite for the job but the announcement wasn't expected so soon.
Portugal's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari moved the Euro 2008 spotlight in dramatic fashion Wednesday after signing a deal to manage Premier League high-flyers Chelsea.
Weeks after the sacking of Avram Grant, who took the club to the cusp of the Champions League and league title glory, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has delivered with a high-profile manager whose record speaks for itself.
A proven winner, Scolari - currently managing Portugal at the European Championships - helped Brazil to their fifth World Cup title in 2002.
In the wake of their early exit from that tournament, Portugal took one look at the man who had shaped a talented team of winners with rigour, discipline and fighting spirit - and decided he was their man.
Scolari, known affectionately as 'Big Phil', was soon brought on board and while Portugal lacked the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, the Portuguese came within a whisker of winning Euro 2004, falling to Greece in the final, and made the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.
His record with Portugal is now 72 matches, 42 wins, 18 draws and only 12 defeats.
Scolari was widely expected to take over at Chelsea, but was not expected to make a decision about his future until after the tournament.
Perhaps given Portugal's lightning start to the Euro 2008, Chelsea - with preparations for next season already underway - were unprepared to wait.
On Wednesday a statement on their website said: "Chelsea Football Club is delighted to confirm that Luiz Felipe Scolari will be the club's new manager from July 1, 2008.
"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."
Although Scolari has in recent years coached at international level, and was once primed to take over as England manager, the 59-year-old Brazilian has more than proved his worth at club level - at which he last coached with Cruzeiro in 2000-01.
Over his club coaching career Scolari has won two Copa Libertadores, in 1995 with Gremio Porto Alegre then in 1999 with Palmeiras.
Along with a Brazilian Championship (Gremio) in 1996, Scolari has also won three Brazilian Cups, and three South Rio Grande Championships.
Date created : 2008-06-11