Marcello Lippi pens three-season deal to stay at Guangzhou
Italian manager signs contract extension until November 2017 just four days after reports say he rejected an offer
World Cup winning Italian manager Marcello Lippi has signed a contract extension to coach Guangzhou Evergrande for three more years, the club announced yesterday, four days after reports said he had turned down an offer.
Lippi, who led Italy to glory in the 2006 Fifa World Cup, will remain coach of the Chinese and AFC Champions League title holders until November 2017, Evergrande said on a verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Evergrande broke China's 23-year Asian title drought when they clinched the continental club championship in November, with the Italian at the helm.
Lioaning FC won the Asian Club Championship in 1990.
"We believe the successful contract extension for our world class coaching team with Lippi at their core will help maintain our leading position," the club said in the posting.
It did not give a value for the contract. However, when Lippi signed his two-and-a half-year deal with the club in May 2012, it was reportedly worth €10 million (HK$106 million) a year.
The announcement came after reports in state media quoted club president Liu Yongzhuo as saying that the 65-year-old Italian had decided to leave at the end of the season because he was "tired".
"We expressed our wish in December last year to extend his contract, but he did not give us the nod," Liu told Xinhua four days ago.
"We had an extremely long season in 2013. Our team started training in January and didn't finish our obligation until four days before Christmas. So it was very stressful for the head coach."
Lippi - the man who steered Juventus to five Serie A titles - joined deep-pocketed Evergrande in May 2012 and has led them to two Chinese Super League titles, a Chinese FA Cup and the AFC crown.
Before the announcement Lippi was favoured for the national coaching post amid speculation that he would not renew his Evergrande deal.