It clearly takes a lot to tempt Italian coaching legend Marcello Lippi out of retirement for one last job, but fortunately for him there are some very deep pockets in China.
While Lippi will be officially announced as the new coach of China’s national soccer team on Friday, reports have revealed that he and his team – of whom former Everton star Li Tie will be a part – will collect 20 million euros annually over an initial two-year term.
Given China’s precarious state in the final round of AFC qualifying – bottom of Group A after four games – it’s less like a final throw of the dice than a refusal to accept that the die has already been cast.
In the video below, China Sports Insider’s Mark Dreyer discusses the Lippi hiring on CCTV News, with Yan Qiang, Tian Wei and Simon Pusey: Continue reading Lippi cashes in on China’s Mission Impossible
10 games over the next 12 months will determine whether or not China can qualify for the FIFA World Cup for just the second time in history.
I spoke to Sky Sports reporter Johnny Phillips last week for a piece he did on the increasing amount of Chinese investment directed at English football clubs in recent weeks. Editors being as they are, only a few selected highlights appeared in the finished article, but we covered a lot of ground, so here is an uncut version (completed shortly before the Wolves deal – the latest of the Chinese takeovers – was announced), touching on why rumours spread so quickly, West Brom’s possible owner and his plans for world domination, Sven spouting nonsense and why Wolves fans are probably sleeping better than Villa ones at the moment.
AC Milan is the latest in a long line of European football targets picked out by Chinese investors – and it won’t be the last.
On the football pitch, the Italians are known for a slow, tactical style that, while effective, can bore an opponent into submission.
Off the pitch, it may also be a similar story.
Stories started to spread on Monday that Chinese home appliance chain Suning was set to buy a stake in Spanish megaclub Barcelona. If true, it would have blown news of Alibaba buying a 50% stake in Guangzhou Evergrande out of the water.
Alain Perrin, coach of the Chinese national men’s soccer team, should make sure his squad have a busy month. When they are not preparing for friendly games against Macedonia and Mali, he should take them out to the local bars, sit them down in front of the TV, buy them a nice non-alcoholic beverage, and make them watch as many World Cup matches as possible.
Jack Ma is no idiot – he presides over a company that is set to go public at an estimated value of $152 billion dollars – but Evergrande looks to have got the better of the deal that sees Alibaba take a 50% stake in Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande for $192 million.
Roads & Kingdoms has an excellent long-form piece by Gabrielle Jaffe profiling the fans of Chinese Super League team Beijing Guoan, exploring the history of the beautiful game in China and delving into the culture of supporter groups around the country.
For those unfamiliar with the capital’s sole CSL team, Beijing Guoan’s crowds last season would rank them eighth in the current list of English Premier League average attendances – above Everton, Spurs and West Ham.
There are lots of highlights, including this: