2018 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifying

Marcello Lippi set to be handed €50m to save China’s dire national football team

World Cup winner flying in this weekend, according to reports

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 11:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 10:28pm

Former Guangzhou Evergrande manager Marcello Lippi is set to take over as China boss, according to reports in Italy and the mainland.

Gao Hongbo was sacked after China’s 2-0 defeat by Uzbekistan 10 days ago which has almost certainly ended their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

And Italian Lippi, who guided Guangzhou to three Chinese Super League titles and the Asian Champions League, was immediately installed as one of the favourites to take over.

Reports say the Chinese Football Association have approached the Italian, who will arrive in Beijing to iron out the details this weekend via Hong Kong as he has yet to obtain an entry visa.

His appointment will be announced on Monday.

Lippi, who won the Uefa Champions League with Juventus and the World Cup with Italy, has reportedly been offered a contract worth 50 million for three years.

‘Should Chinese football start from scratch?’ asks state media after another World Cup qualifying defeat

The bulk of the amount would be borne by Evergrande, it was reported – the club struck a similar deal to let their former volleyball coach Lang Ping take over as national team coach.

Lippi had also been tipped to return as Evergrande boss.

Former Dutch team manager Guus Hiddink was also linked with the job due to his successful stint with South Korea in the last decade, but Lippi is more favoured for his knowledge of Chinese soccer, especially as many of Evergrande’s players are also members of the national team.

China reached the last 12 of Asia World Cup qualifying, but have managed only one point after four games. They next face Qatar in Kunming on November 15.