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By ESPN Staff

Chelsea ready to usher in exciting Scolari era

Chelsea are looking forward to a new era under Luis Felipe Scolari after the World Cup-winning Portugal boss was confirmed as the club's new manager.

Although Scolari, who won the sport's biggest prize with his native Brazil in 2002, was hotly tipped to succeed Avram Grant at Stamford Bridge it was believed that no formal announcement would be made until after Portugal's Euro 2008 campaign was at an end.

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.'

Despite a number of big-name managers being linked with the job following Grant's sacking last month, PA Sport understands Scolari was always Chelsea's number one choice and there was never an agreement with anyone else.

He is likely to be unveiled during the first week of July, at which time the details of his contract will also be revealed.

Scolari's appointment comes less than a week after he insisted he would not discuss his future until after Euro 2008.

He said at the time: 'What's going to happen to me after Euro 2008 - if I am going to stay or leave - concerns (only) me and I am not going to talk about it now.

'If I decide to leave or stay, I am only going to make a public declaration at the end of Euro 2008.'

Scolari's biggest achievement was leading Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002 and he famously turned down the chance to manage England following Sven-Goran Eriksson's departure in 2006.

The 59-year-old has no experience of managing at club level in Europe.

Before becoming an international manager, he enjoyed success at club level in Brazil, winning South America's equivalent of the Champions League - the Copa Libertadores - with two different clubs.

Former Chelsea midfielder Ray Wilkins described Scolari as 'a manager of top quality'.

He told Sky Sports News: 'It appears that he's up for a challenge. He's a big guy, he's charismatic. This will be a breath of fresh air.'

Stamford Bridge legend Ron Harris also welcomed the appointment.

'I think it's a top-class appointment,' he said. 'They have got a top-class manager.'

Harris believes Scolari will introduce free-flowing football to Chelsea.

'When he was manager of Brazil their emphasis was on attacking style - I think he will bring that into Chelsea football club,' he added.

The Portuguese Football Federation later confirmed Scolari's departure on their official website.

A statement read: 'The Portugal Football Federation confirm that it has not renewed the contract of the national coach, given that Luiz Felipe Scolari has accepted an offer from Chelsea FC with effect from July 1, 2008', the statement said.

'FPF, particularly its president (Gilberto Madail), are thankful for the work and dedication of Luiz Felipe Scolari throughout his term, in which Portuguese football continually improved on the international stage.

'[FPF] understand that there are offers impossible to decline.'

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