Porto coach staying put, believes players will too

DUBLIN Thu May 19, 2011 12:29am BST

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Porto coach Andre Villas Boas hopes the combination of high release clauses and cash-strapped rivals means the Europe League winner's best players will join him in the club's return to the Champions League next season.

Villas Boas' side beat local rivals Braga 1-0 in a dull Europa final Wednesday but Porto's free-scoring form in Europe and unbeaten domestic league record have laid down a marker for the Champions League, a competition they won in 2004.

The coach, who at the age of just 33 became the youngest to win a European trophy, was immediately forced to re-affirm his commitment to the club after an astonishing first year in charge.

"My release clause is very, very high; it is something that is not normal. I'm very, very proud of this because it reflects on the power of Porto's brand and I'm very, very happy in Porto -- it is my home town," Villas Boas told a news conference.

"I want to build something that I'm proud of and to be able to add to this amazing start I need to have a lot of confidence and talent, and that's what happened this year. I was able to live with the best players and that's not easy to tear apart."

Villas Boas, virtually unheard of when he was appointed to his first post as a head coach at minor Portuguese team Academica Coimbra in 2009, would not specify how high his release clause was.

However, he did warn Europe's top shoppers that his powerful Brazilian forward Hulk had a release clause of 100 million euros and Colombian striker Falcao, scorer of the winning goal on Wednesday, could not leave for less than 30 million.

Falcao, who scored a record 17 goals in the tournament, re-affirmed his desire to stay with the club next year and while his coach acknowledged a 30 million euro price tag might not scare all potential suitors, he said money may be scarce.

"Of course you can say that it's a number that doesn't scare people but there is not a lot of money around in people's pockets, that's the reality of modern society," the former Chelsea and Inter Milan backroom staffer said.

"Porto has had such an incredible year that people will speculate a lot about exits but I can only tell you that Porto has the highest release clauses in the market so it is not easy for of this talent to run away from us."

Villas Boas said his only regret on a magical night was that the spectacle was not up to the standards of Portuguese football and commended Braga for representing the country with "fantastic effective football" this season.

His opposite number Domingos Paciencia said his side, who upset European champions Liverpool and Benfica on their way to the final, had a lot to be proud of.

"We've played 19 international matches, we started in the Champions League, we reached the final of the Europa League so it shows that this team has lots of qualities," he said.

"Obviously there's no reason to be happy but at least we can be proud and it goes to show that when you're ambitious, when you believe in it, you are able to go far,"

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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