Carlos Queiroz, who twice in the last eight years was a strong candidate to become national team coach of the United States, was hired Wednesday to take over at Spanish league champion Real Madrid.
Queiroz will be reunited with midfielder David Beckham after coaching him as an assistant with Manchester United last season. Beckham last week became the latest superstar lured to Madrid after a $41.3-million transfer.
"Real Madrid is the most successful club in soccer," Queiroz said at a news conference at Real's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. "I hope to do justice to Madrid's philosophy and project and make sure Madrid continues to be the best club in the world."
Queiroz, 50, replaces Vicente del Bosque, who was fired Monday, one day after leading Madrid to its record 29th national title. The Mozambique-born Queiroz signed a two-year contract with Madrid.
Queiroz had been under contract until 2005 at United although it has been reported that he had a clause that allowed him to leave if he received an offer to coach a top club.
United Coach Sir Alex Ferguson, who initially appeared to be opposed to Queiroz's move, was quoted by Britain's Daily Mail newspaper Wednesday as saying that Madrid's offer was "a wonderful opportunity for Carlos."
"It's too big a chance to turn down," Ferguson said.
Queiroz had been considered by some to be Ferguson's heir apparent at United.
Queiroz has coached the national teams of Portugal, South Africa and United Arab Emirates, and was in charge of the New York-New Jersey MetroStars of Major League Soccer for most of 1996. He left the MetroStars after receiving a lucrative offer to coach in Japan's J-League.
In the spring of 1995, Queiroz, a one-time consultant for U.S. Soccer, turned down the chance to coach the U.S. national team, a job that eventually went to Steve Sampson. Queiroz also was a candidate in 1999 before Bruce Arena was hired.
Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o, whose brilliant goal secured a 1-0 upset over Brazil in his team's opening Confederations Cup game, will not play in today's semifinals against Colombia at Lyon, France.
Instead, Eto'o has rejoined his Spanish club team, Real Mallorca, to play in Saturday's Spanish King's Cup final against Recreativo Huelva, landing another credibility blow to the FIFA tournament.
Already a target of criticism from players, clubs and national federations for further crowding a busy calendar, the Confederations Cup has missed out on featuring players such as Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos of Brazil and Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira, all of whom still had club commitments or were resting after long seasons.
Turkey also will be missing a top player when it plays France in today's other semifinal. Striker Nihat Kahveci, who scored a team-high 23 goals for Spanish league runner-up Real Sociedad, is out because of a thigh injury. It would have been Kahveci's first game in the tournament.
Confederations Cup semifinalist Colombia was the biggest mover in the FIFA world rankings released Wednesday. The South American power moved up from 39th to 22nd.
Despite being eliminated in group play at the Confederations Cup, world champion Brazil retained the top ranking, followed by France, Spain, Argentina and the Netherlands.
The United States, which managed only a scoreless tie against Cameroon and one-goal losses to Brazil and Turkey in France, somehow moved up from 10th to ninth. Mexico fell from ninth into a tie for 11th with Italy.
FC Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert, who makes $7 million a year from the Catalan club, reiterated to the Spanish sports daily Mundo Deportivo that he will not accept a pay cut as the two sides try to work out a deal to keep the Dutch player in Spain.... The MetroStars acquired defender-midfielder Edgar Bartolomeu from the Chicago Fire as compensation for the rights to midfielder Andy Williams. Bartolomeu, a native of Angola, becomes the team's third (the league maximum) senior international, joining midfielder Amado Guevara and forward Jaime Moreno.... Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League has signed Portuguese striker Helder Postiga, who spent last season with UEFA Cup champion Porto.... Striker Atsushi Yanagisawa signed with newly promoted Sampdoria of Genoa, becoming the third Japanese player in the Italian league.... Striker Johan Elmander, 22, will return next week to Feyenoord of the Dutch league after a yearlong loan to Swedish champions Djurgarden.
Times wire services contributed to this report.