Paulo Sousa has been appointed manager of English Championship side Queens Park Rangers. The Portugal legend signed a two-and-a-half-year contract, and will be in charge for Saturday's meeting with Watford at Vicarage Road.

The 38-year-old has never been a manager, and his only experience in the role came during five years as assistant to former Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

However, Sousa, who succeeds the sacked Iain Dowie at Loftus Road, enjoyed a glittering playing career that included spells at Benfica, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan. He won the UEFA Champions League with Juventus and Dortmund, and earned 51 caps for his country, whom he represented at UEFA EURO 1996 and EURO 2000.

He has great experience after working with the Portuguese national team and he is part of the new generation of coach. He has worked with some of the world's best players
Queens Park Rangers co-owner Flavio Briatore on the appointment of Paulo Sousa.

Sousa will be expected to guide QPR into the Premier League immediately, as Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, the west London club's multi-millionaire owners, try to transform them into a significant force in English football. "Paulo is a very good appointment for this football club," Briatore said.

"I have been keeping track of his work for the last few months and he is the right man for our project. and we are excited about having him.

"His football career was highly impressive and he has great knowledge of the game. After five years with Portugal, he is ready for a new challenge and I am delighted he has agreed to join us."

QPR are currently tenth in the Championship, three points off the play-offs places, and Sousa believes he has the ability to meet his employers' ambitious objectives. "It is an honour to be part of this project," he said.

"I have always wanted to work for a big club and I am very excited about the opportunity to work for Queens Park Rangers. I have great belief in my ideas and my coaching ability and I firmly believe I can achieve the objectives set by the management."

Sousa will also have to work closely with Briatore, who reportedly sacked Dowie after he refused to pick the team suggested by QPR's co-owner. Gareth Ainsworth, who had been in caretaker charge at Rangers, will stay on as part of the new manager's backroom staff.