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Transfers could be a sticky point for the Portuguese

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Jun 2008

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Portugal's great start to their Euro 2008 campaign as they bid to go one better than the 2004 edition where they lost to Greece in the final could be hindered by the endless transfer speculation surrounding their squad.

“Do what I say, not what I do,” was coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's dictum, but his sudden announcement on Wednesday that he was taking over at Chelsea will be rather hard to take for some of the national squad given that their futures are up in the air.

Not least that of star player Cristiano Ronaldo, who whether you believe all the stories or not is refusing to take Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's calls – never something wise to do with the fiery Scot – and was quoted as saying after Portugal beat the Czech Republic 3-1 on Wednesday that he loved playing in white, a cheeky reference to the colours of Real Madrid.

Ferguson's humour has hardly been improved by rumours circulating that Scolari has been actively encouraging Ronaldo to move to Real, and given the subsequent revelation that 'Big Phil' is decamping to United's great rivals one doesn't have to wonder why he has been doing so.

His midfielder partner Deco meanwhile was given permission to fly to Barcelona on Friday and discuss the terms of his departure with Chelsea the likely destination.

“I think Deco will be back before the quarter-finals, it's essential” joked a member of the team's press team.

While Deco may be on his way to Chelsea, his compatriot Ricardo Carvalho is hesitating between staying there or rejoining his former club boss Jose Mourinho at Italian champions Inter Milan.

“I would like to work again with Jose Mourinho,” Carvalho commented.

Meanwhile, while Deco looks to be out of Barcelona, he looks set to be replaced at Barca by team-mate Joao Moutinho, who wants to leave Sporting Lisbon and is presently in negotiations over that.

Elsewhere, defender Jose Bosingwa has already organised his flight out of Porto to Chelsea while goalkeeper Ricardo is desperate to leave Real Betis where he has had a torrid time.

“The players are strong enough to stay focused on the matter in hand,” commented Chelsea defender Paulo Ferreira.

And his fellow defender Fernando Meira concurred especially when it came to Scolari's departure.

“The Portugal team will miss him (Scolari) but the players are unperturbed,” insisted Meira, who plays in Germany for VfB Stuttgart.

“The timing is the timing,” said Meira. It's not for me to comment on the moment for his upcoming departure which in no way impinges upon the authority Scolari has over the group. He's the boss until the end of the tournament and we are all going to strive to offer him a victorious sendoff,” said Meira.

“In life, there is a beginning and an end to everything. It's the same with football.”

However, the fact that the Portuguese federation have insisted that the questions at the press conferences are restricted to the championships and not transfers indicates they are concerned that their so far successful championships does not end in tears.

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