BASEL (Reuters) - Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said on Saturday money matters were only one of his reasons for joining Chelsea after Euro 2008.
Scolari, whose appointment was announced by Chelsea on Wednesday, began a news conference by making a statement about his move to the English Premier League.
“I would like to close a topic that has already been concluded by both parties,” said the Brazilian. “I have to work with the (Portuguese) federation until the end of the tournament and every decision that has been taken, they were aware of all along.
“(Federation president) Gilberto Madail looked for sponsors but when none came forward he told me I was free to negotiate (my future) ... with whoever I wanted.”
Asked whether his decision to join Chelsea was financial he said: “Yes, that is one of the reasons”.
But he added: “I’m 59 and I don’t want to work as a coach until I’m 70. I want to retire in four or five years, so it was a financial matter but there are other things”.
Among those were his family, Scolari saying: “I could offer my son the opportunity to study elsewhere.
“You only get this kind of opportunity once so you take it or leave it, but it was not only financial.”
Portuguese newspaper A Bola reported this week Scolari would earn six million euros ($9.20 million) a year from a three-year contract with Chelsea, who have not given any details of the deal.
Scolari at first answered questions about the Chelsea announcement and its timing, in the middle of Portugal’s participation in Euro 2008, in monosyllables.
To the question of whether it had affected the atmosphere in the squad he said: “No”. To whether the timing was good, he said “Yes”. To whether the timing showed a lack of respect to the squad and fans, he said: “No”.
However, he then loosened up, adding: “The timing is not going to affect our (team) relationship.
“My assignment will end at the end of the Euro...It would have done so anyway so let’s stop talking about this topic.
“We did our sums and decided the best thing for me was what was decided a few days ago,” he added, referring to his move.
Looking back at his time with Portugal, he said: “I have never worked with a team for so long before.
“Five and a half years is a record for me. Even with my beloved Gremio it was only three years.”
Scolari did not agree the decision to leave might be seen as a cause for Portugal’s elimination if they went out of the tournament before the final.
“If Portugal were to go out I would always be responsible (whatever the reason),” he said.
Scolari said he remained the best of friends with Madail and the federation staff. “It’s not because something else starts that friendships end.
“Now I’m here, completely involved with my heart and soul...We still have to get through two more phases to get to the final.
“The only thing that is going to change (afterwards) is the country I’m going to live in.”
Editing by Trevor Huggins