Marcelo Lippi joins Guangzhou Evergrande as coach

Marcello Lippi has been hired to coach big-spending Chinese

Super League team Guangzhou Evergrande and plans to bring an

Italian style to the club immediately.

Evergrande released a statement Thursday saying it had hired the

World Cup-winning Italian coach until November 2014. Lippi later

appeared at a news conference broadcast live on Chinese television

to discuss his appointment.

”My arrival should be a big deal and the most important thing

in China today,” Lippi said in comments translated from Italian.

”I will start my work today, the same way I did in Juventus and

Inter Milan. The most important thing is to bring the Italian

football concepts to China.”

The 64-year-old Lippi replaces South Korean manager Lee

Jang-soo, who took Guangzhou to promotion and then the 2011 Chinese

Super League title. Evergrande also is the only Chinese club

through to the last 16 of the Asian Champions League.

Lippi led Juventus to five Italian titles over the 1990s and

2000s and Italy to the 2006 World Cup title. He stood down from the

Italian job after winning the World Cup but was reappointed in 2008

and guided Italy to another World Cup, quitting again after the

Azzurri’s shocking first-round exit.

Lippi said he’d been watching Evergrande’s matches for several

weeks, including the Chinese Super League and the Asian Champions

League.

”I almost know all the players now,” he said. ”I am glad to

accept the invitation from Evergrande.”

Guangzhou owner Xu Jiayin’s stated goal is to make Evergrande a

continental powerhouse and Lippi is part of his grand scheme. The

club also broke the Chinese transfer spending record to sign

Argentine playmaker Dario Conca.

”We need everybody to be passionate and confident about it,”

Lippi said. ”I promise to work with my utmost passion and

professional knowledge.”

Chinese soccer has long been mired in corruption and

underachievement. Lippi’s arrival is further evidence, however, of

the drive to use the country’s burgeoning financial strength to

emerge from its lowly status at both club and international level,

where it lags far behind neighbors South Korea and Japan.

Shanghai Shenhua made world headlines at the start of this year

by signing ex-France international Nicolas Anelka, who has since

been promoted into a major coaching role. Shanghai has also been

linked with a move for Anelka’s former Chelsea teammate Didier

Drogba.