Published: Jul 23, 2010 5:10 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 24, 2010 4:30 AM EDT

SAO PAULO (AP) — Muricy Ramalho has rejected an offer to coach Brazil and will honor his contract with Fluminense, club directors said Friday.

The Brazilian football federation offered Ramalho the national team job Friday but the deal was pending an agreement with Fluminense, whose contract with the coach goes until the end of 2012.

Federation president Ricardo Teixeira said Ramalho told him he wanted to coach the national team, but Fluminense club directors said the coach will stay with the club until his contract expires.

"Coach Muricy will continue with the club honoring his contract," Fluminense president Roberto Horcades said at a news conference.

Ramalho's initial contract with Fluminense would have ended later this year, but Horcades said both parts had already agreed to extend it until the end of 2012.

The coach was at Fluminense's training session on Friday afternoon.

The Brazilian federation said it had not yet heard from Ramalho and would not make any announcement until Teixeira talked with the coach.

Ramalho has long said his ultimate goal is to coach Brazil, and before talking with Fluminense directors he had hinted he would accept the federation's offer.

"Who wouldn't want to coach the Brazilian national team?" he told ESPN Brasil's website.

Even Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had already commented on the man he thought was the new national team coach, saying he was "a good choice."

Ramalho would have replaced Dunga, who was fired days after Brazil lost to the Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa.

The 54-year-old Ramalho has little experience abroad, but is one of the most respected coaches in Brazilian football. He led Sao Paulo to three consecutive Brazilian league titles from 2006-2008 and Internacional to a runner-up finish in 2005. He was named the league's best coach all four years.

He nearly won another title with Palmeiras last season, but the team collapsed at the end and finished out of the top four. Ramalho has been with Fluminense since April and has led the club to the Brazilian league lead after 10 rounds.

Ramalho has also coached several other teams in Brazil, as well as China's Shanghai Shenhua. His first job was in 1993 with Mexico's Puebla's, where he was a player in the early 1980s. Between 1973 and 1979 he played for Sao Paulo as a midfielder, scoring 26 goals in 177 games.

On Monday, the national team has to announce its squad for the Aug. 10 friendly against the United States in New Jersey, and before then Teixeira has to find another coach to take over the five-time champions.

The new Brazil coach will have the difficult task of leading the team in the 2014 World Cup, which take place in Brazil for the first time since 1950 and will add unprecedented expectations among fans in the football-crazy nation.

Teixeira said the new coach will be in charge of revamping the national team and getting it ready for the home tournament after Brazil failed to get past the quarterfinals of the past two World Cups.

"The final goal is the 2014 World Cup," Teixeira said.

Other names touted for the position include World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari, former Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, and Corinthians coach Mano Menezes.

Scolari led Brazil to the World Cup title in 2002 and is the favorite for fans, but he just signed a two-year contract to coach four-time Brazilian champion Palmeiras and hinted he would not be available to the national team until 2012.


Associated Press Writer Stan Lehman contributed to this report.