Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, has had a dream run since arriving in China a year ago to coach Guangzhou Evergrande. Under “Felipão”, the club has won the Chinese Super League, the Asian Champions League and the Chinese Football Super Cup.
Scolari, 67, who has also coached Portugal and the English Premier League club Chelsea, spoke to Lourival Sant’Anna for This Week in Asia.
What strikes you most about Chinese players?
Their work ethic. What I like most about the Chinese players is how easily they assimilate new techniques.
And the Chinese people?
The Chinese in general come across as simple, hard-working, humble and friendly.
Do you think China will ever become a soccer power? If so, how long will it take?
China will be able to significantly improve its football if the authorities develop regional and national championships for under-15, under-17 and under-19 categories. That’s where you find future players.
How do you communicate with players during practice?
Our club has very good interpreters. With some players I also communicate in English.
What do you miss most about Brazil?
When I leave Brazil to work in another country, I try to blend into the local culture even though I know that I’ll go back to Brazil when the contract is up. I miss my friends, but I make other friends wherever I am.
What will you miss most about China when you leave?
My players and the friendship we have forged, the lovely moments I have enjoyed at this club, in this city and in China in general.