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Marcello Lippi talks national team, transfers, and fireworks

Below is our translation of an interview with Marcello Lippi that was featured on It’s a bit dated (nearly a month old), but we still find it interesting enough to share. The original, Chinese version is here.

Sina: Nine Evergrande players were picked for the national team, since then two have returned (Rong Hao and Zhang Linpeng), how will this impact Evergrande’s preparations for the new season?

Lippi: The national team situation is a bit painful, to be honest, picking all those players will definitely impact our preperations. FIFA’s requirements are that for friendlies a club has to release players three days before a match, for serious matches it’s a week, and for major tournaments, it’s about  15 days, but I’ve never come across anything like the need to release my players a month before a match, but there’s nothing I can do. At least I have a lot of players, I think it’s very strange, no other national team is like this.

Sina: At the championship celebration, you said that you would do what you could to not give the national side so many players, but the end result is that they all left. Is this because of your conversations with Camacho or was it due to pressure from the CFA?

Lippi: In China, sometimes you just have to accept things like this. But in other countires it would never be this way, starting national team camp a month ahead of time, it’s a little excessive.

Sina: What do you think of new signing Elkeson?

Lippi: I haven’t had a lot of time to see him so I can’t give a complete opinion now, but give me some time. However, I think he’s definitely a great player, I’ve seen his matches before we signed him and have watched him for awhile when he was in Brazil.

Sina: Cleo hasn’t returned yet, will he be back at all?

Lippi: The transfer market is handled by the club, there’s not much for me to say. I’ve talked with the club multiple times and shared my thoughts, I told them three months ago what I thought, the club knows what they’ll do.

Sina: After Conca’s return have you talked with him?

Lippi: Before the break, I talked with all the players individually. Conca is a very important part of the squad and he’ll be back with us this year.

Sina: What are the squad’s upcoming plans?

Lippi: We’ll be in Guangzhou through January 18th or 19th and head to Spain on the 22nd, spending two weeks there playing four matches. We’ll then return to China before Spring Festival, but the plans haven’t been made yet.

Sina: Will you spend Spring Festival in China?

Lippi: I will, I’ll be in China during the holiday. Our squad will only have two or three days off so it’s not enough time for me to return to Italy, for the next five months I’ll just be in China.

Sina: When it gets closer to Spring Festival, we can introduce you to some of the Chinese cultural aspects of it.

Lippi: Like what? What do people eat at that time of year?

Sina: There’s a lot, flower markets, temple fairs.

Lippi: (Laughing) I know that during Spring Festival everyone eats a lot. I always eat a lot during Christmas.

Sina: In China, you can legally light off fireworks during the holiday.

Lippi: In Italy, this was outlawed long ago.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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