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By ESPN Staff
Apr 28, 2006

Scolari insists England deal is far from complete

LISBON, April 28 (Reuters) - Portugal's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari on Friday defended his contacts with the Football Association but said he had not been offered the job of England manager.

Scolari said he was looking to secure his future once his Portuguese contract ran out on July 31, after the World Cup in Germany.

England are looking to replace their first foreign coach, Sweden's Sven-Goran Eriksson, who will step down after the World Cup.

"At this time of the season coaches change clubs and listen to other clubs. Your coaches negotiate, am I any different?" Scolari told reporters at Lisbon's airport before flying to Germany to open Portugal's training camp at Bielefeld.

"That hypocrisy that someone who's born here is a saint and someone born on the other side of the Atlantic is a devil, that doesn't exist.

"It's time to stop that clown show. I'm just like anybody else, I've got two legs, two arms and a head."

He added, "I'm not negotiating with anyone, I've heard 200 offers and the one who has to decide yes or no is me. That's it. It's over. Until July 31, I'm the Portugal coach."

FA chief executive Brian Barwick returned to London on Thursday from Lisbon to meet Scolari's agent Gilmar Veloz. He told reporters the selection process was continuing "apace".

Scolari, 57, led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title and steered Portugal to the final of the European championships two years ago, knocking out England both times. Portugal were undefeated in World Cup qualifying matches.

In an interview published on the website of Diario de Noticias newspaper, Scolari said no decision had been made about the England manager's job.

"There are four or five names and only within seven or 15 days will it be settled. My situation with Portugal remains the same until July 31."

The FA meeting "was a simple talk, informal and with the consent of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), since I am still a Federation professional, with a contract until the 31st of July, and up until then no one knows what is going to happen," he said.

Scolari said he had turned down offers from Real Madrid and Barcelona, saying he would only talk after the World Cup was over.

"And you ask, what if we lost in the (World Cup's) first round? Would there be anyone that would like it if I stayed in Portugal? No."

Asked about reports in British media that he was being offered an annual salary of three million pounds ($5.43 million), Scolari said: "Everybody talks about numbers. That's been extrapolated higher, for sure."