The CSL season ended this weekend, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the news and rumours that surround China’s top flight will be decreasing as a result. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The hard and expensive work to ensure the CSL continues its rapid rise as a football league now resumes as clubs look to bolster their squads and reputations with marquee players and managers. Of course, it is logical to make sure the managers are in place first, and it is news regarding the changing of a couple of CSL bosses that is already the major news from the Far East just days after the season came to its climax.
Sousa replaces Cannavaro as Tianjin Quanjian Head Coach
In a switch that perfectly demonstrates just how fast things will be changing in the CSL over the coming weeks, Tianjin Quanjian have already confirmed Paulo Sousa as their new head coach following the resignation of Fabio Cannavaro.
Quanjian managed a 2-1 away victory over Champions Guangzhou Evergrande on the final day of the season which confirmed their place in next year’s Champions League, but Cannavaro still opted to depart the club with rumours suggesting he fancies a return to the side he beat on Saturday.
From today I am no longer the coach of Tianjin Quanjian
You will always be in my heart
Thank you all ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ajpDXKLy6n
— Fabio Cannavaro (@fabiocannavaro) November 6, 2017
A statement from Tianjin Quanjian confirming the news was thankful for the service Cannavaro had given the club in meeting the targets he was set for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
“After a request was submitted by Fabio Cannavaro and following discussions between both parties, Tianjin Quanjian have agreed Mr Cannavaro will not continue to be the head coach of the club”
“We sincerely thank Mr Cannavaro and his team for their contribution and wish him a bright future in his career and life”
Former Portugal international, Paulo Sousa, has been named as Cannavaro’s replacement. The 47 year-old has been out of work since leaving Serie A’s Fiorentina in June, and Quanjian’s statement regarding their appointment suggests they are excited about the style of play they expect Sousa to bring.
“Mr Sousa’s teams are renowned for their tactical diversity and elegant style of play, which are a classic example of modern, aggressive football.”
“Hopefully Mr Sousa will lead Tianjin Quanjian to scale new heights in seasons ahead and bring happiness to our fans in coming seasons.”
Scolari Leaves Guangzhou Evergrande
As was mentioned above, it is expected that Cannavaro quit his role at Quanjian because he favours a return to Guanghzou Evergrande. The well-known reason for such a move being possible was finally confirmed on Saturday as Luiz Felipe Scolari left the club.
Scolari took over from Cannavaro in 2015 and has since led Evergrande to three consecutive league titles. The Brazilian initially signed an 18-month deal with the club which was extended by a year 12 months ago, however Scolari now feels the time is right to leave the club.
As Evergrande lifted another CSL trophy, Scolari addressed the fans:
“My story with Evergrande is finished, but my story with China may continue. I will carefully think about it. No one knows where we are heading, but I hope Evergrande club can have a bright future.”
“My football life has taken me all over the world, but China is one of the three best places I’ve ever worked.”
The CSL accomplishments Scolari has achieved with Evergrande are very impressive considering the large investments other Chinese sides have recently made in world-class players, but it is perhaps a stronger Champions League challenge that Evergrande will be looking for from Scolari’s successor.
The club were knocked out of the quarter-finals of the Champions League and indeed the semi-finals of the Chinese FA Cup by Shanghai SIPG this year, and having dominated the CSL for so long there is no doubt that the next step for Evergrande is to extend that domination across all competitions.
We shouldn’t have to wait long to see if Cannavaro really is the man to replace Scolari, as Evergrande are expected to name their new head coach within a week.