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Marcello Lippi becomes Guangzhou’s latest blockbuster signing

Over Lee's departure already - Guangzhou fans welcome Lippi at the press conference

World Cup-winning boss Marcello Lippi has become the highest profile manager to take over the reigns of a Chinese Super League club after Guangzhou Evergrande officially announced he had signed a two-year deal to coach the Cantonese giants.

Lippi was unveiled at a press conference held in Guangzhou this afternoon, where he spoke of his delight at joining the club and of his wish to extend his contract should his stewardship of the big-spending club be succesful.

He told assembled journalists and a large group of fans at the press event, “I like the look of this team and its spirit, and the boundless support the club enjoys,” adding,  “I like even more that everyone seems to be wearing Guangzhou Evergrande jerseys in this city.”

Lippi said he was “honoured” to accept his new post and said he was to begin work later in the afternoon. “Chairman Xu Jiayin’s goal is to make Evergrande an international team, so we need everyone’s enthusiasm and confidence.”

The Italian replaces Lee Jang-soo, who was sacked yesterday following Guangzhou’s win against Buriram in the Asian Champions League, despite the club progressing to the knock out stage, and leading the Chinese Super League at present.

Speaking of his predecessor, Lippi said, “I’m grateful to Lee Jang-soo for leading the team to success, and I will use his achievements as  a base to take the club forward. I promise to put all my passion and professional knowledge into my new role.”

All hail the new king of Canton: Marcello Lippi

The veteran coach said he was aware his arrival in China would create a big impact, and promised to bring Italian coaching and training concepts to the country.

The CV of the former Juventus man is easily the most impressive of any foreign coach to have managed a Chinese Super League club. With one World Cup victory, five Serie A titles, and a Champions League win featuring amongst his bulging trophy haul, Lippi comes with a second-to-none international pedigree.

However, the 64-year-old has never coached outside Italy and will face a real culture shock in his first few months on the job at least. He also has to deal with the Dario Conca situation – the Argentine was banned for nine games by the club for criticising then-coach Lee Jang-Soo, but then mysteriously was named in the first team in the ACL this week.

He will also have to learn from scratch, how to deal with the vast multitude of unimaginable oddities and other extremely bizarre events which characterize Chinese football.

It’s unclear at this point, and at this level of football, what extra achievement Lippi and bring which Lee did not. With Lucas Barrios arriving at the club next month, expectations to not only win the Chinese Super League but also make a serious effort at lifting the ACL trophy come the end of the season, will now be sky-high.

In short, Lippi is facing a challenge quite like no other.

UK trained journalist and long-time Chinese football observer Cameron Wilson has been writing about Chinese football for over a decade…

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Yiddo Huayi

    17/05/2012 at 20:29

    Oh FFS!

    Shenhua have Drogba to teach them how to fall over and now Hengda have to go one better and get a coach for diving.

    Meanwhile, some kids in the rural hinterland kick an old ball around on a patch of dirt…

  2. Li Wei

    18/05/2012 at 02:12

    Yet with Lippi’s amazing track record, i would not bet against him to fail …
    Sure there will be cultural shock as well Chinese football is totally different from the rest of the world???… but Lippi is no doubt an overachiever coach…
    Well done, Boss Xu, u have gotten a great deal…

    • Damian Jones

      19/05/2012 at 22:01

      How long do you expect an old, home-sick Italian to stay in China?
      Put me down for 2 months ……………….. 5 rmb.

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