André Villas-Boas quits Porto and is poised to be named Chelsea's coach
André Villas-Boas, the 33-year-old coaching phenomenon who this year led FC Porto to an unbeaten season in the Portuguese league and also won the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League, has resigned as Porto's coach and is expected soon to be named coach of the English Premier League club Chelsea.
Villas-Boas, recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times, had a $21-million buyout clause in his contract with Porto, but Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's Russian billionaire owner, is believed to be clearing that obstacle.
Porto on Tuesday officially notified the Portuguese stock market of Villas-Boas' decision.
"Porto can inform the stock market that it has received notification from its coach, André Villas-Boas, of the intention to resign with immediate effect," the statement said. "As such, his employment contract shall be considered rescinded upon deposit of the stipulated amount."
Reports in the English media on Tuesday suggested that Villas-Boas would be paid as much as $8 million per year on a two-year contract with Chelsea. He previously worked at the club as an assistant under another former Porto coach, Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea has so far declined to confirm his appointment.
"We hope to be able to make an announcement regarding the new manager in the next few days or so," a club spokesman told England's Guardian newspaper on Monday, "but until then we will not be commenting further on the speculation surrounding that appointment."
Mourinho, now coach of Real Madrid, and Villas-Boas are expected soon to be locking horns over the acquisition of Brazilian teenager Neymar. The 19-year-old striker, now with Copa Libertadores finalist Santos, has long been a target of Chelsea.
On Tuesday, however, Luis Alfaro Ribeiro, the president of Santos, said he had received a formal inquiry from Real Madrid about Neymar's availability. Like Villas-Boas, Neymar has a buyout clause in his contract, but in his case it is for $64 million.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Andre Villas-Boas. Credit: Paulo Duarte / Associated Press