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Big Phil says he made the ball cry

Written by: Staff

MUNICH, July 4 (Reuters) Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari took a swipe at his own playing career today, saying he made the ball cry.

Scolari, who led his native Brazil to World Cup success four years ago and has now taken Portugal to the semi-finals, was known as a ruthless central defender with outstanding leadership qualities.

Big Phil learned his trade on the muddy pitches of Brazil's south, playing for unfashionable Aymore, Caxias, Novo Hamburgo and Juventude before retiring at 32 with CSA of Maceio.

Scolari's team face France tomorrow in a semi-final that will feature sublimely talented players such as Les Blues captain Zinedine Zidane and Portugal's Luis Figo.

''It's a shame that players such as Zidane and Figo are getting older,'' Scolari told reporters. ''We would like to see them play for another seven, eight or 15 years.

''The ball doesn't cry at their feet,'' he said. ''When I played, I made the ball cry.'' REUTERS SHB RN2249

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