Scolari named Chelsea boss

Luiz Felipe Scolari has been confirmed as the new manager of Chelsea, the English Premiership club said on Wednesday.

The Brazilian had been one of the favourites to succeed Avram Grant in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat but the timing of his appointment has come as a huge surprise.

The 59-year-old Scolari is managing Portugal at Euro 2008 and was not expected to make a decision about his future until after the tournament.

Chelsea said in a statement: "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."

Scolari had said just on Tuesday he would have no problems swapping Lisbon for London. Scolari was out of contract after the UEFA EURO 2008, which finishes on 29 June.

The London club had parted company with Avram Grant last month, despite the Israeli taking his team to the UEFA Champions League final and Scolari had been targetted to take his place.

Top of the pile
Sacked Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini, ex-Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard and Russia coach Guus Hiddink had all also been linked to the job.

The Portuguese Football Federation had previously confirmed Scolari was high on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's short-list.

Chelsea's Portugal international defender Ricardo Carvalho had previously given the thumbs up to his possible appointment.

Carvalho, with his national side for EURO 2008, said it was understandable that Stamford Bridge officials would be interested in a coach of Scolari's stature.

Scolari led Brazil to the 2002 FIFA World Cup title and Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 on home soil to give him huge status in international football circles.