Luiz Felipe Scolari, known affectionately as “Felipão” or “Big Phil” in the world of football, is a name synonymous with both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Born on November 9, 1948, in Passo Fundo, Brazil, Scolari has left an indelible mark on the beautiful game, first as a dedicated defender on the pitch and later as a strategic and passionate football manager.
His story is one of relentless commitment to the sport, and it’s a journey that has been punctuated by remarkable successes, tumultuous challenges, and enduring accolades. From the hallowed stadiums of his native Brazil to the grandest stages of international football, Luiz Felipe Scolari biography is a captivating tale of a football legend. Let’s delve into the life and career of Luiz Felipe Scolari, a man whose name is etched in the annals of football history.
Luiz Felipe Scolari Biography
Luiz Felipe Scolari, fondly known as “Felipão,” has a rich and multifaceted history in the world of football. While his legendary managerial career often takes center stage, it’s important to first explore the early chapters of his life, beginning with his days as a player before transitioning to the strategic genius that would make him a household name in the footballing world. Let’s delve into the fascinating journey of Luiz Felipe Scolari biography, tracing his steps from the playing field to the manager’s dugout.
Luiz Felipe Scolari Information
- Full Name: Luiz Felipe Scolari
- Nickname: Felipão (“Big Phil”)
- Profession: Football Manager and Former Player
- Height: 1.82 m (5 ft 11½ in)
- Eye Color: Brown
- Hair Color: Gray
- Weight: 77 kg
Date of Birth and Personal Info
- Date of Birth: November 9, 1948 (Age: 74)
- Birth Place: Passo Fundo, Brazil
- Nationality: Brazilian
- Position: Defender
- Professional Debut: 1973 (Player) / 1982 (Manager)
Luiz Felipe Scolari Early Life
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s father, Benjamin Scolari, an Italian immigrant from Venice, shared a love for football. Like his father, Scolari pursued a football career, but he wasn’t considered a top talent. Though Luiz Felipe Scolari real name remained the same throughout his life; in Brazil, he was playfully called “Perna-de-pau” or “wooden leg,” due to his perceived lumbering playing style.
As a defender, his standout quality was endurance. This led to him frequently wearing the captain’s armband during his playing career. In 1973, he made his professional debut with SER Caxias and spent seven years there before playing for Juventude, Novo Hamburgo, and CSA. In 1981, he achieved a significant milestone by winning the state championship of Alagoas with CSA.
Luiz Felipe Scolari Profile
Now that we have an understanding of his background, let’s explore everything about Luiz Felipe Scolari’s career as a manager. In the early 1980s, he initiated his coaching journey with the provincial club CS Alagoano, achieving the title of Alagoas state champion in 1982, marking his first success as a coach. This was succeeded by several stints as a coach for various teams in Brazil. His first international experience came with the Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab. However, his time at the renowned Brazilian club, Grêmio, in 1987 was relatively short-lived.
Subsequently, Scolari transferred to Goiás EC after just one year. He then ventured to Kuwait, where he managed Al Qadsia Kuwait and later took charge of the Kuwaiti national team for a two-year period. In 1991, he returned to Brazil to coach Criciúma EC, securing his first major title by winning the Copa do Brasil the same year. Later in 1991, he departed for Saudi Arabia once again, this time to lead the highly successful Al-Ahli club. Subsequently, he spent a year with his former club, Al Qadisiya Kuwait.
In 1993, Scolari made his way back to Brazil and resumed his coaching duties with Grêmio. His second tenure proved highly successful, as he secured titles in each season: the Cup in 1994, the Copa Libertadores in 1995, and the Brazilian league title in 1996. Following his time in Brazil, Scolari took a detour to Japan, joining Júbilo Iwata, before returning to his home country.
Upon his return, he accepted an offer from Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras in São Paulo. Here, he achieved remarkable success, winning the Brazilian Cup and the Copa Mercosur in 1998, and the Copa Libertadores in 1999. In 2000, he left São Paulo to take up a coaching role with Cruzeiro Esporte Clube in Belo Horizonte.
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Now, let’s delve into the next part of Luiz Felipe Scolari biography, focusing on his career with the Brazil national team.
National coach of Brazil
As the national coach of Brazil for the second time in his career, Scolari assumed the role in June 2001, succeeding Émerson Leão. Leão, like his predecessor Vanderlei Luxemburgo, faced challenges in persuading top Brazilian players, such as Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos, who primarily played in Europe, to participate in qualifying matches for the national team.
Upon Scolari’s arrival, Brazil was in a precarious state. With just five World Cup qualifiers remaining, there was a significant risk of Brazil failing to secure a spot in the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Under Scolari’s leadership, Brazil suffered an initial defeat to Uruguay and struggled to secure victories against Argentina and Bolivia. Nevertheless, Scolari’s team eventually managed to secure their qualifications.
In the lead-up to the World Cup, Scolari made a controversial decision to exclude experienced striker Romário from the Brazilian squad. Despite media pressure and an emotional appeal from Romário, the 35-year-old striker did not make it into the World Cup squad. However, Scolari’s selection did include star players like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaká, Cafú, Rivaldo, and Roberto Carlos, who guided Brazil successfully through the group stage. Brazil won all of their group matches and went on to defeat Belgium and England in the knockout rounds.
In the semi-final, Brazil narrowly triumphed over Turkey, a team they had already beaten in the group stage. The Brazilians proceeded to clinch a 2-0 victory over Germany in the final, with top scorer Ronaldo netting both goals. Following the World Cup, Scolari stepped down from his role as the national coach.
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In this section of Luiz Felipe Scolari biography, we focus on his international career:
Portuguese National Team
In 2003, Scolari assumed the role of head coach for the Portugal national football team, where he played a pivotal role in leading the Portuguese to the final of the 2004 European Football Championship. Notably, he and Otto Rehhagel jointly managed Greece in the final, making Scolari the first foreign coach to reach the final of this prestigious tournament.
In April 2006, the British press speculated that he could potentially replace England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson. However, Scolari declined the job offer. Following his team’s 1-0 semi-final defeat to France at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Scolari voiced concerns about the referee, Jorge Larrionda from Uruguay, suggesting that he indirectly favored the French and influenced the match. In the third-place play-off on July 8, 2006, in Stuttgart, Scolari’s team faced a 3-1 defeat to Germany.
On September 12, 2007, during a European Championship qualifying match against Serbia, Scolari was involved in a scuffle with the Serbian player Ivica Dragutinović. Initial reports suggested that Scolari had punched Dragutinović in the face, but Scolari later claimed he had only touched Dragutinović’s hair. Video evidence later revealed that the punch did not land because Dragutinović evaded it. As a consequence, UEFA suspended Scolari for four international matches. Despite this, Scolari led Portugal to the quarter-finals of EURO 2008 but was ultimately defeated by Germany with a score of 2-3.
In the realm of club football, Scolari took on the role of coach at Chelsea FC on July 1, 2008. However, his tenure at Chelsea was short-lived, and he was dismissed on February 9, 2009, due to a lack of success.
Subsequently, Scolari’s career led him to Uzbek champions Bunyodkor Tashkent in June 2009, where he was appointed as the head coach and director of the football academy. Owing to the club’s financial troubles, Scolari decided to terminate his contract prematurely in May 2010, after just one season in charge.
After the underwhelming performance of the Brazilian national team at the 2010 World Cup, Scolari briefly emerged as a potential candidate to replace Dunga as the head coach. However, he chose to sign a contract with Palmeiras until the end of 2012. During his tenure at the club, Scolari achieved success by winning the 2012 Copa do Brasil. In mid-September 2012, as Palmeiras struggled and dropped to the penultimate place in the league table, Scolari was dismissed.
Return to the Brazilian National Team
Luiz Felipe Scolari made a return to coaching the Brazilian national team on November 29, 2012, succeeding Mano Menezes, who had been dismissed just six days earlier. His contract extended until after the 2014 World Cup, which was hosted in his home country. With the assistance of former three-time national team coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who served as the technical director, Scolari’s team achieved a significant victory by winning the 2013 Confederations Cup. In the final, they secured a convincing 3-0 victory over Spain.
However, the 2014 World Cup proved to be a more challenging endeavor for Brazil and Luiz Felipe Scolari life story. The team reached the third-place play-off against the Netherlands, following a devastating 3-0 loss to Germany in the semi-finals. Ultimately, Scolari’s second term as the national team’s coach consisted of 19 wins in 29 matches, along with six draws and four defeats. Consequently, on July 14, 2014, the president of the Brazil Football Federation (CBF), José Maria Marin, accepted Scolari’s resignation.
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Scolari is renowned for his ability to establish credibility in the teams he coaches by adopting a no-nonsense approach, which includes the willingness to bench star players when needed. This strategy ensures team unity and contributes to his consistent success. He typically favors the 4-2-3-1 formation, although he occasionally switches to a 4-4-2 system.
Scolari is widely recognized as one of the premier Brazilian football coaches of his generation. His numerous accolades, including awards such as Brazilian Coach of the Year and South American Coach of the Year, attest to his exceptional coaching prowess. Throughout his career, he has consistently achieved remarkable success with various teams.
Luiz Felipe Scolari Legacy and Honors
Throughout his career, Scolari has accumulated an impressive list of honors, including domestic league titles, Copa do Brasil victories, Copa Libertadores titles, and international achievements. His coaching prowess earned him numerous awards, including South American Coach of the Year and the IFFHS World’s Best National Coach.
In this part of Luiz Felipe Scolari biography, we mention Luiz Felipe Scolari stats and notable achievements:
- Al Qadisiya
- Kuwait Emir Cup 1989
- Copa do Brasil 1991
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1996
- Copa do Brasil: 1994
- Copa Libertadores: 1995
- Recopa Sudamericana: 1996
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 2018
- Copa do Brasil: 1998, 2012
- Copa Mercosur: 1998
- Copa Libertadores: 1999
- Torneio Rio-São Paulo: 2000
- Copa Sul-Minas: 2001
- Uzbek League: 2009
- Guangzhou Evergrande
- Chinese Super League: 2015, 2016, 2017
- AFC Champions League: 2015
- Chinese FA Cup: 2016
- Chinese FA Super Cup: 2016, 2017
- Arabian Gulf Cup 1990
- FIFA World Cup 2002
- FIFA Confederations Cup 2013
- UEFA European Championship runner-up 2004
- Best Football Coach in Brazil: 2018
- Brasileirão Coach of the Year: 2018
- South American Coach of the Year: 1999, 2002
- IFFHS World’s Best National Coach: 2002
- Chinese Super League Coach of the Year: 2015, 2016
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Outside Professional Life
Luiz Felipe Scolari biography and life extend beyond football, offering insights into his personal and professional journey.
Scolari is well-known for his devout Catholic faith. This was evident during Brazil’s fifth World Cup victory when he and his players carried an image of Our Lady of Caravaggio, a revered saint among the Italian descendants of southern Brazil, as a symbol of their faith and unity.
Before his rise to fame in the football world, Scolari worked as a Physical Education teacher at A. J. Renner School, also known as the Industrial School, situated in the municipality of Montenegro, a city approximately 60 km away from Porto Alegre. He dedicated himself to his educational responsibilities during this period. Additionally, he served as a physical education teacher in the city of Caxias do Sul, working at institutions such as Escola Estadual Cristóvão Mendonza and Colégio La Salle Carmo.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s family
Moving into his personal life, Luiz Felipe Scolari biography offers a glimpse into his family, children, and relationships. Scolari began dating his wife, Olga Scolari, when he was 18 years old. During his time in Porto Alegre, he resided in his wife’s parents’ hotel for six months. This was where their romantic journey began. After seven years of courtship, they tied the knot and have since welcomed two sons, named Leonardo and Fabricio Scolari.