SAO PAULO (AP)—Luiz Felipe Scolari has not received an offer to coach Brazil and hinted Thursday he was likely to stay with Palmeiras at least for the next two years.
Scolari led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title and has been touted as one of the possible replacements for Dunga, who was fired as the country’s coach after the team was knocked out of the 2010 tournament in South Africa at the quarterfinal stage by the Netherlands.
The former Chelsea manager was officially introduced on Thursday as Palmeiras’ new coach and said he was fully focused on his new challenge with the four-time Brazilian champion.
He had reached a deal with Palmeiras just before the World Cup and was to sign his contract on Thursday after working as a commentator for a South African TV network during the tournament.
Scolari left open the possibility of taking charge of Brazil again in the future, but said he was “committed to Palmeiras.”
“I’m very happy and proud to be included as one of the favorites to coach Brazil,” Scolari said. “But I’m being hired by Palmeiras right now. I’m Palmeiras coach, that’s it.”
Despite saying his priority was to stay with the club, he did not rule out accepting an offer from the Brazilian football federation. He had said in South Africa he would like to finish his career by coaching a national team at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
Scolari’s contract with Palmeiras ends in June 2012 and then he could be free to seek a job for the World Cup, but he said it was not something he was considering at the moment.
“I would never take a job now already thinking about where I’m going to be in the future,” the 61-year-old Scolari said.
Scolari said he rejected an offer to coach Brazil after the 2006 World Cup because of personal reasons. He added that in 2002 he didn’t stay with the team after federation president Ricardo Teixeira hinted it would not be a good idea for either party after Brazil had just won the world title in South Korea and Japan.
It will be Scolari’s second stint in charge of Palmeiras. He worked at the club from 1997-2000, guiding it to the 1998 Brazilian Cup and the 1999 Copa Libertadores, the team’s biggest title so far.
Palmeiras faces Santos on Thursday in the Brazilian league but the coach is not expected to take full charge of the squad until its next match over the weekend.
It will be his first job in Brazil since 2002, and despite short spells at Chelsea and Uzbek club Bunyodkor, he remains highly respected among fans and media in Brazil.
“I’m incredibly happy with the way people still treat me eight years after I left the national team,” Scolari said.
The coach joined the Portuguese national team after his stint with Brazil in 2002, leading it to the 2004 European Championship final and to the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
In addition to Scolari, there have been reports that former Brazil player and AC Milan coach Leonardo could take over Brazil. Other names mentioned include former Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Corinthians manager Mano Menezes and Fluminense coach Muricy Ramalho.
The federation said it would announce Brazil’s next coach by the end of the month.