Will Chelsea Pay For Scolari’s Taunting of United?

Whilst everyone’s had something to say on the Cristiano Ronaldo saga, it’s something I’ve paid very little attention to largely because I couldn’t really see him going this season. Whether or not that’s still the case, I’m not sure anyone but the player himself knows but as much as I’ve tried to shy away from the subject Scolari is making it very much Chelsea’s business.

In the days before his appointment (or before the announcement of it anyway), Scolari had already had words with Ronaldo about a possible move to Real Madrid. According to Scolari, turning down a move to Real wasn’t an option because chances like this don’t come along everyday. Now, whether Scolari already knew he’d be managing the opposition next season when he was having that chat is debatable, but the fact is, even now his position at Chelsea is public knowledge, he’s refusing to drop the subject.

With the rags suggesting Ronaldo himself has confirmed Scolari seemed to be doing the hard sell on Real’s behalf throughout Portugal’s Euro 2008 campaign, our latest manager doesn’t seem to be helping himself as far as relations with Fergie are concerned. Add to that Chelsea’s decision to announce the appointment of Scolari mid-way through the competition and Scolari seems to be making Chelsea as popular in the football world as Naomi Campbell on a BA flight. Whatever Grant may or may not have tried to do to quieten down the PR mess Mourinho had left behind, Scolari seems to be doing his best to undo before he even walks through the Stamford Bridge gates.

Even with the papers ‘exclusively’ alleging Ronaldo has admitted he will be leaving United having made the decision to quit even before the Champions League final, Scolari’s still reported to be stoking the fires that surely must be raging inside Old Trafford. His latest statement seems to be taunting United with the idea of Ronaldo leaving, by saying “I know Cristiano well and I know the type of person he is so I have no doubts about how he will handle himself in the next few weeks. People must understand that Cristiano becomes stronger with all the difficulties and the stories about him. I have never known anyone so mentally strong. What happened to him at the World Cup in 2006 in the quarter-final against England would have crushed many other players – but not Cristiano.” He goes on to say “What has been happening around him here with the uncertainty about his future has not affected him – I know that because I have been with him. He is so strong mentally and he is in control of his own destiny – and because of that Manchester United can do nothing to hurt him. It is his dream to play for Real Madrid and I am sure Cristiano will fulfil his dream whatever the difficulties.”

Now whilst I don’t doubt for a minute Scolari thinks he’ll be doing everyone at Chelsea a favour by encouraging Ronaldo’s move away from the Premier League, this public riling of United is getting to be about as irritating as Rafa’s daily attacks on Drogba last season – and ultimately could end up costing him just as much. Because whether Ronaldo stays or not – and you’d have to think Big Phil’s praying he doesn’t now – Fergie’s going to be out to kick arse and one particular Brazilian arse is going to be directly in his sights.

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Scolari Ready To Wield The Axe At Chelsea?

Having previously turned down the England job citing press intrusion, our new manager certainly seems to be getting familiar with the press right now. Far from shying away from the media boys, Scolari seems to be having cosy chats about everything from other people’s players to the ‘revolution’ he plans at Chelsea.

I’ve said as much as I’m going to on the whole Ronaldo circus and it’d be nice to think Scolari has as well, but I won’t hold my breath on that one. Onto Chelsea though and he seems to be making it very clear who the boss of these particular players is, suggesting no player in the squad is safe once he takes charge.

Of course we all expect the threatened ‘overhaul’, and Scolari promises “it will be a revolution especially in terms of mentality”. He also ‘confesses’ “For the first few games I will have difficulty in identifying all the players and getting their fusion right,” so it’s good to see his ability to cover his arse is no different to those gone before him. More worrying for some though is his insistence that he’s not that bothered what effect his size nines have on those around him.

Obviously there’ll be a fair few departures and that’s pretty much as expected but maybe there’ll be the odd shock in store even where those are concerned? Whereas there’s a few of us who think Drogba’s antics detract sufficiently from the overall benefits of having him around and regard seeing the back of him as a positive move, but what about Lampard? I’ve never hid the fact that I see the dragging out of his contract as a sign of a player more willing to talk the talk than walk the walk, but general consensus seems to be that he’s a player we should do everything to hold onto. Scolari’s attitude though doesn’t come from the same place as your average sentimental supporter, so Lampard’s failure to sign pre-Scolari could cost him a sizeable contract now.

And what about Ballack? He turned his game around for us last season and even after a strong Euro 2008 doesn’t seem to be taking the opportunity to whore himself to the highest bidder – making his desire to stay at Chelsea pretty clear. But having complained “you can’t trust anybody on the field” after seeing the German midfielder give Ferreira a bit of a nudge for Germany’s third goal against Portugal, is that a grudge he’ll regard worth holding?

One player who definitely won’t be wanting to hear Scolari taking such a hard line in the press though surely has to be JT. Scolari insists “I pick the players I think are the best. I only give explanations about players I pick, never about others. Whoever is not selected is not selected. Let them be unhappy with it. They know that’s the way it is in football.” Anyone fancy his chances against Terry if he wields his axe in that direction?