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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Luiz Felipe Scolari: The New Coach of Chelsea

The current Coach of Portugal, Luiz Felipe Scolari, who is on duty in Euro 2008, is the new coach of English club Chelsea. The English club officially disclosed Luiz Felipe Scolari as the new coach of the club in a statement. The Brazilian coach will take over from Avram Grant on 1 July after the end of Euro 2008 tournament. Following an unsuccessful season of Chelsea, who lost to Manchester United in the Champions League final and finished second to the same opponent in the league, it was reported a number of times in the media that Avram Grant might lose his job, and Scolari made it to the headlines in the media several times being linked to a possible Chelsea job.

Grant was the first coach who led Chelsea to the Champions League final, but Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was not satisfied with it after experiencing Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United in the final of Champions League in his home country, where he had all the preparations to celebrate Chelsea’s Europe victory in style. Grant was in charge of Chelsea only for eight months since he took over from Jose Mourinho midway through the last season. Scolari will become the fourth Chelsea manager since Roman Abramovich owned the club.

Some other world class coaches were in the shortlist of Chelsea for the managerial post including AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti, Manchester City’s newly appointed manager Mark Hughes and former Inter Milan manager Inter Milan. Chelsea sacked Avram Grant last month and since then many names appeared in the list, but with this announcement, all the speculations have been turned off. Here, I am quoting some lines from the statement published by Chelsea regarding the news of Scolari’s appointment from BBC:

"He is one of the world's top coaches with a record of success at country and club level," read a Chelsea statement.

"Scolari 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 and to ensure minimum disruption to this work there will be no further comment from Chelsea nor from Felipe about his new role until his employment with us commences."

Luiz Felipe Scolari has a number of successes both in international and club level. He led Brazil to win 2002 FIFA World Cup, before joining Portugal in the same year. Under his coaching, Portugal was the runner up of Euro 2004 and played in the semi final of 2006 FIFA World Cup. Besides these international successes, the ‘Big Phil’ nicknamed Scolari had club success with Brazilian club Gremio and Palmeiras with whom he won many successes including Copa Libertadores, Brazilian Championship, Brazilian Cup and Rio Grande Championship in his coaching career. However, Chelsea is going to be the first assignment for Scolari at the club level in Europe. Here, it is noteworthy that, he turned down the offer to become English coach twice.

The coach has fame for his strictness as a manager who always puts discipline ahead of other things. However, sometimes that strictness brings huge criticism for him, because of being stubborn to some extent. However, he is perhaps one of the best coaches available who can remain poised and holds on the nerves under huge pressure. He is one of those coaches who are always seen screaming from outside the touch line. Now, many football pundits are expressing different comments on Scolari’s appointment as Chelsea boss and some of those remain skeptical about his success at Chelsea due to his lack of knowledge about English football.

Well, I think, Luiz Felipe Scolari could make an excellent coach at Stamford Bridge because he knows what it takes to bring success and what needs to make a side successful and how to keep a balance to the side. Before taking over Portugal job, he did not have any knowledge about Portuguese football, but you can see, by the time he is leaving, Portugal has become a dominant team of Europe and they are on their way to revive their past glory. The only problem, I think, Luiz Felipe Scolari is going to face is to meet the expectation of overambitious Roman Abramovich, and facing English media. Now, let us see if Scolari can become the ‘Golden Duck’ of the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

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