Porto's Villas Boas to stay with Portuguese champions
GAIA, Portugal (Reuters) -- Porto coach Andre Villas Boas will stay at the club next season, he said on Wednesday denying media reports he would move to England or Italy after a successful first season with the Portuguese champions.
"My future, as you know, is completely linked to Porto," he told a news conference. "I do not know of any official interest from other clubs."
Media reports had linked the coach with jobs at Chelsea and Liverpool in the Premier League and Juventus and Roma in Serie A.
The 33-year-old led Porto to the Portuguese league title last month and his side are one match away from completing the season undefeated. They face Braga in the Europa League final next week and are also in the Portuguese Cup final.
Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa earlier this week urged the coach to stay at the club, saying he would make sure Villas Boas had the resources for continued success.
Keeping forwards Radamel Falcao and Hulk, who have caught the eye of top European clubs, would seem to be an imperative.
Colombian Falcao has scored 17 goals in the Europa League, beating the record for goals in a European club tournament previously held by Jurgen Klinsmann, while Brazilian Hulk is the top scorer in the Portuguese Premier League with 23 goals.
"The president has been clear regarding their release clauses. Porto protects itself very well, so the clauses are high and it will be difficult for a club to meet these clauses. They would have to make a big investment," Villas Boas said.
Hulk's release clause is set at 100 million euros ($143.9 million), while Falcao's is lower at 30 million, but with the club reportedly negotiating with the player to increase it.
The Brazilian said he is happy at Porto, but did not rule out a move.
"I am not desperate to leave. I am at a great moment in my career, and have three years' contract left with a great club. As the president said, if someone wants me, they'll have to pay, so I will leave it in my agent's hands," Hulk told reporters.
Falcao said his wish was to stay at Porto, despite the intense speculation.
"They (newspapers) have sold us to half the world, but we are still here and I think will continue. At the moment my mind is with Porto, I am happy here and expect to stay many years," he said.