By Michael Church
HONG KONG, May 24 (Reuters) – Carlos Queiroz will not remain at the helm of the Iran national team after the conclusion of the country’s involvement in the World Cup finals in Russia, the former Real Madrid coach told Reuters on Thursday.
Queiroz, who has been in charge of Team Melli since April 2011, had been offered an extension to his contract by the Iranian Football Federation until January’s Asian Cup finals in the United Arab Emirates.
But the 65-year-old has decided to call time on his seven-year stint with the Iranians after the World Cup, where they have been drawn to take on Morocco, Spain and Portugal in Group B.
“It’s almost one year since we qualified for the World Cup and it’s true that they gave me an offer to go for six months to the Asian Cup in the Emirates, but it didn’t meet my expectations,” Queiroz said by telephone from his team’s training camp in Turkey.
“After all these years, for the Iranian federation to only extend the contract for six months is a decision that shows no appreciation or recognition for what I’ve done. It’s an offer that isn’t acceptable from my point of view.
“The negotiations are closed, they are behind me.
“Before we came here to Istanbul the federation was supposed to review the position and they did not come back to me, so from now on it’s time to move forward.”
Queiroz had considered retiring after the World Cup to spend more time with his family, but now wants to become the first coach to secure qualification for the World Cup finals on five occasions.
Brazilian Carlos Alberto Pereira and Serbian Bora Milutinovic have coached five times at the World Cup, with both taking charge of teams that had either qualified as hosts or stepped in as replacement coaches for already qualified nations.
Queiroz, however, qualified South Africa for the World Cup in 2002 only to step down from his position before the finals in Japan and Korea.
He then led Portugal to the 2010 tournament in South Africa before becoming the first coach to secure back-to-back World Cup appearances with Iran, and he is keen to lead another country to the finals in Qatar in 2022.
“After all these years in Iran there was the possibility that I would retire after the World Cup,” said Queiroz.
“But, in the meantime, the dissatisfaction at not qualifying for a fifth World Cup started to grow.
“It started to speak louder and the more I started to think more about that unique historical opportunity, to be the only coach in football history to have five World Cup qualifications under my belt, my anger and desire started to grow and this is now my main goal and my expectation.
“I’ve had two offers, one from Africa and one from Asia with the chance to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, and if that doesn’t happen then I can look at one or two options that I have in England after the World Cup.”
(Reporting by Michael Church Editing by Christian Radnedge)