Scolari Named Chelsea Manager

Luiz Felipe Scolari, currently leading the Portugal MNT in Euro 2008, has been named the manager at Chelsea FC.

Scolari will complete his assignment with Portugal before joining Chelsea on July 1.

Scolari will be replacing Avram Grant, who was fired as Chelsea manager on May 24. Since Grant’s departure, various high profile coaches have been associated with the vacant position, including former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard and, most recently, AC Milan’s Carlo Ancelotti.

Scolari’s name, in the mix since the position’s opening, had seen rumors of his eventual hiring increase with the Euro 2008 coverage. Those rumors escalated over the last week with Scolari confirming he was ready to move on from his Portugal job after his contract ended this month. One report had Scolari agreeing to a deal last Friday.

Scolari’s greater coaching achievement came in 2002 when he won the World Cup with Brazil. After that tournament he joined Portugal, taking them to the final of Euro 2004 and the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. Portugal currently leads Group A of Euro 2008, winning their first two matches. He is the most successful coach in Portugal’s history and is given credit for transitioning the team from the Luis Figo, Rui Costa-led “Golden Generation” to the current, Cristiano Ronaldo-led squad.

Before being named head of the Brazil MNT in 2001, Scolari was coach Cruziero in Brazil’s Serie A. It was the last time Scolari coached club soccer.

Last week, Scolari said that he would not talk about his coaching future until after Euro 2008, making today’s announcement a surprise. Uncertainty concerning a vacant Chelsea managerial position during the transfer season may have been motivated an early announcement with the hopes that players being targeted by other clubs may be influenced by the high-profile signing.

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