Scolari future up in the air after seven-trophy run

Head coach of China’s Guangzhou Evergrande Luiz Felipe Scolari celebrates after winning the Chinese Super League (CSL) football tournament in Guangzhou, in China’s southern Guangdong province on Oct. 22, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2017
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Scolari future up in the air after seven-trophy run

GUANGZHOU: Guangzhou Evergrande players and staff tossed an emotional Luiz Felipe Scolari in the air and hailed the Brazilian coach after they sealed their seventh straight Chinese Super League title in what is expected to be his final season in charge.
Scolari’s men thrashed Guizhou Zhicheng 5-1 at home on Sunday to win the Chinese Super League (CSL) with two games to spare, their seventh trophy under the former Brazil, Portugal and Chelsea coach.
The 68-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season and his anticipated departure signals the end of a successful two-year stint that saw Evergrande cement their place as the best in China — despite eschewing the lavish spending of rival teams this year.
Scolari was banned from the bench on Sunday but, wearing a red Evergrande T-shirt, he took to the Tianhe Stadium pitch afterwards and was mobbed by his players and team officials, who hoisted him skywards.
“All fans supporting Evergrande should thank him for winning seven titles in two-and-a-half years,” the Oriental Sports Daily quoted assistant coach Paulo Turra as saying.
Guangzhou’s nearest challengers, Shanghai SIPG, are a distant nine points behind despite splashing out on the likes of Asian-record signing Oscar for 60 million euros from Chelsea.
Scolari also lost key midfielder Paulinho, who moved to Barcelona in August, and Turra said: “Now is different from the past. The meaning of champion is quite different from what it was in the past.”
There has been no official announcement on Scolari’s future, but Chinese media say the well-traveled coach is expected to depart, with the decorated Italian Carlo Ancelotti and Thomas Tuchel, most recently with Borussia Dortmund, both linked with the post.
Scolari’s fellow Brazilian Turra said the veteran coach had put Evergrande on a par with leading clubs around the world.
“Firstly, we must pay tribute to the boss and the club,” Turra said. “We followed the mode of European professional clubs.
“Secondly, we have an excellent team.”


Maurizio Sarri wants to meet Eden Hazard to discuss Chelsea future

Updated 18 July 2018
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Maurizio Sarri wants to meet Eden Hazard to discuss Chelsea future

  • Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard is one of the top two or three players in Europe and he wants to meet the Belgium forward
  • Hazard is taking time off after the World Cup along with Belgium teammate Thibaut Courtois

LONDON: Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard is one of the top two or three players in Europe and he wants to meet the Belgium forward face-to-face to discuss his future.
Hazard said at the World Cup in Russia that “it might be time to discover something different“ after spending the last six years with Chelsea. He has been linked with a move to European champion Real Madrid, which recently sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus.
Hazard is taking time off after the World Cup along with Belgium teammate Thibaut Courtois, whose future is also the matter of some debate.
Sarri says he doesn’t just want to phone the players who have yet to return to preseason training because a “telephone call without looking in their eyes will not give any certainty. I want to meet them face-to-face and understand what’s the best thing to do for everyone.”
Sarri says Hazard is “one of the top two or three European players,” adding that he hopes “to improve Hazard but that will be difficult.”
In his first news conference as Chelsea coach since joining from Napoli, Sarri said he will play in a “slightly different way” to predecessor Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League in his first season and FA Cup in his second after changing to a three-man defense.
Chelsea has already signed holding midfielder Jorginho from Napoli this offseason. Sarri says he would like more quality in the midfield area to fit his preferred approach, while adding that he could also adapt to the players he currently has in the squad.
Chelsea didn’t qualify for this season’s Champions League.