HONG KONG, (Reuters) - Luiz Felipe Scolari confirmed his departure from champions Guangzhou Evergrande but refused to rule out coaching in the Chinese Super League again after securing a third league title in a row.
World Cup winner Scolari took over from Fabio Cannavaro in June, 2015 and led Guangzhou to three league crowns as well as the Asian Champions League and Chinese FA Cup.
He originally signed an 18-month contract with the club before extending his deal for another year at the end of last season, but has decided to end his association with the seven-time CSL winners.
“My story with Evergrande is finished,” the 68-year-old Brazilian said on Sunday.
“But my story with China may continue. I will carefully think about it. No one knows where we are heading, but I hope Evergrande club can have a bright future.
“I don’t know if I will come back to China. I will make my decision carefully. My football life has taken me all over the world, but China is one the three best places that I’ve ever worked.”
Scolari led Guangzhou to the title this season despite rivals Shanghai SIPG spending more than $150 million(£114.7 million) over the last two years to lure big-name players like Brazilians Oscar and Hulk to the club. Evergrande clinching the crown with two rounds to spare.
They fell short elsewhere, however, with SIPG knocking them out in the Chinese FA Cup semi-finals and Asian Champions League quarter-finals, a trophy Scolari won with Evergrande in 2015.
Chinese media have linked Italians Carlo Ancelotti and Cannavaro with the coaching position at Guangzhou who are expected to name Scolari’s successor within the next week.
Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Ed Osmond