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Who's hot, who's not in China Sports (Week 20)

Updated: 2012-05-18 15:20
By Yan Weijue (

Evergrande's answer

Who's hot, who's not in China Sports (Week 20)

Who was the last head coach to get fired after his team won the national league title, leads the standings and is powering into the AFC Championship League as the alpha dog of its group, or did Lee Jang-soo just make history with his farewell to Guangzhou Evergrande?

If you've been following Chinese soccer, you probably get some of it: What Lee has done this season is far less satisfactory than expected. The club tumbled in the Championship League, winning just two of the six games and squeezing into the knockout round with a narrow win in the last game of the group stage. In the Chinese Super League, they lead Guangzhou R&F, who humiliated them with a 2-0 victory in March, by one point.

More important, the ambitious Evergrande want to become even more grand. And they found a perfect replacement for Lee – Marcello Lippi, the former Italian national team coach who led the team to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

The hiccups Evergrande had in the past two months this season just provided an excuse for the brass to dump the Korean, who will get a 5 million yuan breach of contract payment.

Evergrande may be afraid of many things, but writing big checks is definitely not one of them.

Lippi will get an annual salary of 10 million euros in his 2 1/2 year deal with the club, which makes him the world's second expensive soccer coach, right behind Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho.

With the signing of Dortmund striker Lucas Barrios earlier this month, on a four-year contract worth a league record of 8.5 million Euros, the club is undeniably on its way to arming itself with money, the fastest path it believes "to win the AFC Championship League title in five years."

The question now is: Will it? And even if it does, how much will this winning formula change the development of Chinese soccer?

Here is a heads-up from Lee to Lippi: Integrate yourself into the Chinese culture and its "particular soccer environment," or you will end up with nothing.

Lippi's first test will be this Sunday, when Evergrande hosts Qingdao Jonoon in the CSL.

Best friend, best man

Who's hot, who's not in China Sports (Week 20)

Liang Wenbo has joined Ding Junhui in mixed martial arts training in Beijing. The motivation for two of China's best snooker players probably differ. Ding said last week he needed to lose some weight and overcome negative emotions, but for the 25-year-old Liang, who is getting married this Saturday, he may have much more pressure to pump out. And Ding will be his best man.

Scuffle at taekwondo match

Who's hot, who's not in China Sports (Week 20)

Angry with what he thought were unfair calls, a player punched a female referee in the face after a taekwondo match between teams from Chengmai and Haikou at the Hainan provincial sports meeting on Sunday. The referee was struck down into a coma when she tried to stop the fight between the two teams. But her sacrifice did not achieve peace, as the two sides engaged in more fighting.

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