Marcello Lippi has been named as the new head coach of China after Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao cancelled a deal for the 68-year-old to take over next year.
Chinese Football Association vice-president Yu Hongchen confirmed via a statement that Lippi will replace Gao Hongbo, who resigned this month, after he signed a contract on Saturday.
“After friendly mutual discussions, the CFA officially announces that Mr. Marcello Lippi will become the head coach of the China national football team from October 22,” the statement read.
Lippi, who won three Super League titles, the CFA Cup and the AFC Champions League in a hugely successful spell as Guangzhou boss between 2012 and 2014, had been lined up to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari as head coach next year.
It is reported that the former Juventus and Inter boss met with CFA chief Cai Zhenhua and Xu Jiayin, the president of the Evergrande corporation, on Saturday after it was decided to cancel his pre-agreement with the club.
Lippi, who guided Italy to their last World Cup triumph in 2006, faces a tough task to steer China into the finals in Russia in two years’ time, with the team bottom of Group A with one point from four games in the final round of the Asian qualifying section.
Meanwhile, former Italy star Fabio Cannavaro’s Tianjin Quanjian secured promotion to the Super League on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over Meizhou Hakka.
Former Sevilla star Luis Fabiano scored his 22nd of the season to claim the Golden Boot, before further strikes from Jadson and Zhao Xuri sealed the win that secured Tianjin’s place at the top of the table.
Cannavaro, who captained Lippi’s side in the 2006 finals in Germany, took over from Vanderlei Luxemburgo four months ago after a one-year spell with Guangzhou.
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