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Chelsea taking a gamble with Scolari

Premier League Chelsea
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Chelsea wanted a man of footballing stature - and perhaps even more a man of massive personality - when Avram Grant's low-key era was ended after the defeat in the Champions League final at the hands of Manchester United.

And there is no doubt the Blues have got one in the newly-appointed Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"Big Phil", who is actually not all that big in the flesh, was a World Cup winner with his native Brazil in 2002, took Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 and the semi-final of the 2006 World Cup.

And he is currently in charge of a hugely talented Portugal side that shows signs of being serious contenders to win Euro 2008.

Scolari made a habit of out-flanking England - and now he comes among us to spread his own unique brand of showmanship and expertise.

And yet, there is a lingering feeling that Chelsea have taken a big gamble in going for a man who has, on occasions, made Jose Mourinho appear a model of diplomatic restraint.

One thing is certain - those who complained that Grant was just a little understated for their liking will love Scolari.

I observed the Brazilian at close quarters in three major tournaments and dull he isn't.

Scolari's touchline antics were dramas on their own but his media conferences were something else.

These confrontations were a heady cocktail of flamboyant gestures, fury, comedy, reconciliation, gurning and love - often all in a matter of moments.

He reacted to one vital win by telling the world's media that he was off to give his wife a hug - and perhaps a little more besides if the mood took them.

It was the sort of glorious, grandstanding stuff that might actually make those of us who still mourn Jose Mourinho's exit from Stamford Bridge forget about "The Special One", at least for a little while.

Chelsea cannot be accused of appointing a pet for owner Roman Abramovich. Scolari is volatile and opinionated. If he has something to say he will say it.

And they have certainly made a statement of intent by appointing one of the biggest names in world football. If Chelsea crave profile and success, they have landed a man who has form for both.

He will be a welcome addition to the Premier League mix of top-class managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

But is he a comfortable fit for Chelsea? No-one can doubt this man's pedigree but there have to be question marks.

He has never managed at club level in Europe and all his recent experiences have been confined to the international stage, albeit successful ones.

Scolari's English, to the best of our knowledge, is almost non-existent, so that will be a hurdle to clear early on.

He also rejected an approach from England to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson because he was unhappy about possible media intrusion, something he will have to confront at a club as newsworthy as Chelsea.

So yes, Chelsea are taking a gamble but there are huge pluses as the Premier League now plays host to another of the game's most charismatic figures.

Scolari is an advocate of attractive football and he is still hungry to make an impact at 59.

He has huge personality and presence and appears to carry his players with him in a manner similar to Mourinho.

Chelsea's star system will be dismantled. He does not play favourites - remember how he removed Portugal's iconic Luis Figo when they were behind to England in the quarter-final of Euro 2004?

Figo stormed to the dressing room but Scolari's change worked as Portugal won. The nation backed its inspirational coach ahead of its favourite son.

This is Scolari. Brave, a gambler and not a man to be messed with - whether this will work for Chelsea will become clear in time.

It is an appointment laced with risk but let's not carp - let's sit back and relish what will be a hugely enjoyable, if occasionally bumpy, ride.
Scolari's career in photos -

The view from Brazil -

Latest 10 comments

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posted Jun 15, 2008

I am not too sure about this appointment. sure, he is a good manager, but then again, i am not sure if grant was really a good manager - he just had a great team!

I couldnt stop laughing when i read this little post, just 4 lines long, by Gabriele Marcotti about scholari going to chelsea.

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posted Jun 18, 2008

John TeŽŽy's Hard TaŠkle! know, but where still not the most expensive to team to watch smiley

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posted Jun 18, 2008

John TeŽŽy's Hard TaŠkle! know, but where still not the most expensive team to watch smiley

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posted Jun 20, 2008

Felipao is a good appointment. But Chelsea will return to Mourinho football. Anyone who thinks this man likes attractive football is wrong. The only attractive football he has played has been when Ronaldo, R Gaucho, C Ronaldo have turned it on. These three only play attractive football. His teams are built on a solid defence. At Chelsea this will continue. He is probably the only man however who may have a chance of keeping the Drogbas and Lampards at Chelsea.

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comment by U7913237

posted Jun 20, 2008

His teams are built on a solid defence
Solid defence?
No sign of that last night!

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comment by babash (U12519258)

posted Jun 29, 2008

Well it maybe a great news for now but the damage has been done already. The billionaire should stop melding into technical issues otherwise this great team will always be on the losing side. All hails the SPECIAL ONE. The best coach for the club ever and no one can replace him.

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comment by Tom (U4250908)

posted Jun 30, 2008

Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Carvalho, Cole.
Essien, Lampard, Ballack.
Robinho, Drogba, J.COle

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posted Jun 1, 2009

reading this a year on makes me laugh... i think all articles and comments on scolari could be copied and pasted, simply replacing his name for ancelotti's... cheers roman!

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comment by ifarka (U8969682)

posted Jun 2, 2009


i suppose you thought that about hiddink?

looking forward to your reply.

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