By Michael Church
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia, July 2 (Reuters) – Carlos Queiroz has yet to agree to extend his stay as Iran coach despite claims by the president of the country’s football federation that the Portuguese would lead the team at January’s Asian Cup finals.
Iran Football Federation president Mehdi Taj was quoted following the team’s return to Tehran as saying Queiroz would remain at the helm following their elimination from the World Cup finals through to the continental championship in the United Arab Emirates.
But a source close to Queiroz denied an agreement has been reached between the two parties and that the former Real Madrid head coach is considering other options.
“There was a new approach from the IR Iran Football Federation, but the agreement is far from done due to the basic conditions that would be necessary for the federation to put in place towards the Asian Cup,” the source told Reuters.
“In the present scenario, Carlos Queiroz’s contract with IR Iran Federation finishes at the end of July.
“Apart from Iran, Carlos has other proposals and options that are open.”
Queiroz stated before the World Cup that he would end his seven-year stint as Iran coach upon the completion of the country’s involvement in Russia 2018.
The 65-year-old was appointed in April 2011 and steered the team to back-to-back qualifications for the World Cup for the first time in Iran’s history.
Their performance in Russia, where they defeated Morocco and drew with European champions Portugal only to miss narrowly out on a place in the second round, was the nation’s best in five appearances at the finals.
But his relationship with the national association has often been strained, with Queiroz voicing his intention to stand down from the role on a number of occasions.
The former Manchester United assistant coach is hugely popular in Iran with both fans and players, several of whom have called for him to be given the four-year contract through to Qatar 2022 that he desires.
“The contract will be discussed later but yes, Quieroz will remain in charge until the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019,” Taj was quoted as saying following the team’s return to Tehran.
“The (World Cup) results say that we are on the right track. The 7,000 fans who welcomed the team at 4am at the airport showed us their priority is the national team.
“We have had a good football year, and the Asian Cup is ahead of us. Based on my negotiations with Queiroz, and the current atmosphere, we can win the Asian Cup.”
(Reporting by Michael Church Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)