World Cup winner Lippi 'to take Guangzhou reins'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 May, 2012, 12:00am


Lee Jang-soo has been sacked as Guangzhou Evergrande coach and will be replaced by former Italy World Cup-winning boss Marcello Lippi, according to mainland reports.

The news came just a day after Lee - the Chinese Super League's most successful foreign coach - guided big-spending Guangzhou to top spot in their Asian Champions League group, clinching qualification for the next stage, with a 2-1 win at Buriram United.

Guangzhou, last year's champions, are top of the league but Lee has been under pressure despite positive results and was publicly criticised by star signing Dario Conca recently.

Mainland sports portals reported that the South Korean was dismissed before the team left Bangkok for their flight back to China and that he revealed the news to the team before their departure.

'It doesn't matter, Guangzhou are first in the league, first in the Champions League group and in the last 16 - I feel no shame,' Lee was quoted as saying in South Korea.

There was no official statement from Guangzhou yesterday, but they are holding a press conference at 2pm today, when the news is expected to be confirmed. Reports claimed Lippi, 64 (pictured) - who has been heavily linked with the post in the past after admitting in March there had been contact - could be paid as much as Euro10 million (HK$99.5 million) a season, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in world football.

Lippi has won the Serie A five times and the Champions League with Juventus in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the 2006 World Cup with Italy.

But he has not coached since quitting after the 2010 World Cup, when Italy crashed out at the group stage.

Titan Sports claimed Lippi's assistant, Narciso Pezzotti, had been in China for the past few weeks.