Guangzhou Evergrande are the 6-time defending Champions heading into the 2017 season. The club are based in Guangzhou, Guangdong and play their matches in the Tianhe Stadium. Guangzhou are owned by the Evergrande Real Estate Group and e-commerce giant Alibaba. The club is the most successful CSL team after winning the last 6 CSL titles. They have also tasted continental success having won the AFC Champions League twice in 2013 and in 2015. Guangzhou were also the first Chinese club to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013.
They were founded in 1954, and won several second tier titles before they became professional in 1993. Their results improved, leading to a runners-up spot in China’s top tier. Unable to improve upon these results the club went through a period of stagnation and decline before they experienced a brief revival when they won the 2007 second division. In 2009 the club were embroiled in a match-fixing scandal and they were punished with relegation. The Evergrande Real Estate Group decided to purchase the club and pumped significant funds into the team. They immediately won promotion and gained their first top tier title in the 2011 season. The club is the only Chinese football club to win AFC Champions League twice, in 2013 and 2015. The club is also the first Chinese club to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup, making its first appearance in 2013.
According to Forbes, Guangzhou Evergrande is the most valuable football team in China, with a team value of US$282 million and an estimated revenue of US$57 million in 2015.
Luiz Felipe Scolari. The former Brazil and Portugal head coach and World Cup winner is the current manager of Guangzhou having been appointed back in 2015. He led the team to two CSL titles, the AFC Champions League in his debut season along with 4 domestic cup triumphs.
Alan Carvalho, Paulinho, Ricardo Goulart, Jackson Martinez and Kim Hyung-il. Carvalho played for Fluminense in Brazil and Red Bull Salzburg in Europe before signing for Guangzhou. Paulinho played for Corinthians and donned the Spurs kit for two years before switching to Guangzhou. Jackson Martinez was the top scorer in the Portuguese League in each of his three seasons with Porto. He then played for Atletico Madrid for a season before arriving in Guangzhou. Ricardo Goulart played for a host of Brazilian clubs before playing for Guangzhou. Signed for the 2017 season, South Korean Kim Hyung-il played for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and won the AFC Champions League.
Guangzhou’s all time record scorer is Gao Lin with 88. Among the current players, Ricardo Goulat has 57. He was the top scorer in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons and has won numerous individual honours during his time in China.
When Guangzhou R&F moved to the city, a local derby known as the Canton derby was born. The first ever derby was a 2-0 win for the newcomers. Despite close proximity, relation between the two clubs remains cordial.
Former Manchester City player Robinho also played for the team back in 2015 before leaving for Atletico Mineiro back in Brazil.
Chinese Super League x6 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
China League One x5 (1956, 1958, 1981, 2007, 2010)
Chinese FA Cup x2 (2012, 2016)
Chinese FA Super Cup x3 (2012, 2016, 2017)
AFC Champions League x2 (2013, 2015)