Chinese Super League

Real Madrid legend Bernd Schuster signs up at Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang

Former Bernabeu boss takes control of top flight new boys after Ma Lin becomes the first to fall off the managerial merry-go-round in China

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2018, 11:29am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2018, 10:37pm

Struggling Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang have confirmed they have sacked manager Ma Lin to bring in former German international Bernd Schuster.

The German had an illustrious playing career with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid – winning 12 trophies – before going into management, most notably with Real where he won the Primera Liga title in 2008.

The 58-year-old arrives in northeastern China after four years out of the game since leaving Malaga in 2014.

Schuster spent most of his career in Spain but finished his playing days in Mexico with UNAM Pumas before going into management with Fortuna Koln.

His résumé includes stints at Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and Turkish side Besiktas, as well as several roles in the Spanish top flight.

Yannick Carrasco ‘saves life’ of teammate Nico Gaitan after horror collision in Chinese Super League

Questions will be asked whether a manager who has had an extended period out of the game is the correct choice for the Chinese club but Schuster’s record as a coach speaks for itself – and as a player who finished runner-up for the Ballon d’Or in 1980 he will command respect from his new charges. He’s also well-travelled so should be able to adapt to life in China.

The Atletico Madrid connection also plays a part, with the club now owned by former Atletico part-owners Dalian Wanda. Wang Jianlin’s real estate giant sold their stake in the Spanish club earlier this year before returning to Chinese football with Dalian Yifang.

Schuster will be expected to get the best out of the side’s recent signings from Atletico, Yannick Carrasco and Nico Gaitan, and recent recruit Jose Fonte, the Portuguese international defender.

The season has started badly for the trio and their teammates, losing 8-0 to Shanghai SIPG on the opening day and following that humiliation with two more defeats.

Chinese Super League round-up: Wu Lei on fire as Shanghai SIPG continue their tearaway start with crushing win at Guangzhou R&F

With the club rooted to the bottom of the table it was felt the ideal time to make the change. Dalian’s next game after the international break is away to Henan Jianye on March 31.

Ma’s sacking leaves just three of the 16 teams managed by Chinese coaches. Schuster becomes the third German, joining Roger Schmidt at Beijing Guoan and Uli Stielike at Tianjin Teda.