GUANGZHOU World Cup-winning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has denied reports in his native Brazil that he will retire from coaching at the end of the current Chinese Super League season.
Scolari, who signed a new contract with Guangzhou Evergrande at the end of last year, called the reports "fake news" and said he hoped to remain in China beyond his existing deal.
"It is completely untrue," he told Chinese media. "I don't know what the intention was behind this fake news. I have to repeat that my contract with Evergrande is due until the end of this year and I have the option of a one-year extension.
"I love my job in Guangzhou, and I love my players. My family in Brazil don't need me to quit my work here to take care of them at home.
"It is normal that I take some holidays back in Brazil, and I haven't seen my wife for four or five months. I went back and brought them to Guangzhou, that's it. I believe I will spend more time here."
Scolari took over as head coach at Guangzhou Evergrande in June 2015 and has since led the club to the Asian Champions League title and two Chinese Super League crowns.
He has followed in the footsteps of fellow World Cup winner Marcello Lippi in leading the club to domestic and continental success.
Scolari praised the Italian's impact on the China national team after Lippi guided them to victory over South Korea in World Cup qualifying on Thursday evening.
"I always tell my players to be at their best for the national team," said Scolari, who saw five of his players start for China in the 1-0 win.
"Lippi is my good friend. We've chatted a few times. I'm happy to see what he has done to the national team. I watched the whole 90 minutes and I like the way it went."
The Brazilian also praised Paulinho, who scored a hat trick in Brazil's 4-1 win in Uruguay in World Cup qualifying. The midfielder forced his way back into the national team after impressing for Guangzhou during the season.
"There are two reasons why I'm happy tonight," said Scolari. "One is that China won the match against South Korea and the other is that Paulinho scored a hat-trick for the Brazil national team.
"Paulinho was not in the national team list, but he fought his way back. That is why I am very proud of the Chinese Super League. You see Paulinho, Renato Augusto and Gil have all gone back to the national team.
"So it is wrong to say that the CSL is for players who have come to the end of their career. The CSL has showed it is competitive and it is able to give players the chance to play for their country again."
(Reporting by Michael Church in Sydney, Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)