Lippi attracts support, ire from Chinese soccer fans

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/19 20:31:20

Marcelo Lippi. Photo: VCG

His supporters said he did his best, his critics slammed him for passing the buck - feelings are mixed after Marcelo Lippi, who quit as manager of China's men's national soccer team for the second time in a year, told Italian media that he resigned because "I don't like to make a lot of money if I don't deserve it."

The 71-year-old Italian coach added that he was not able to repay the great trust he was granted. Lippi tendered his resignation to the Chinese Football Association (CFA) on Friday after a 2-1 defeat to Syria in the Asia World Cup qualifiers in Dubai. He had previously resigned in January after a quarter-final exit in the Asian Cup, but was rehired in May.   

Some of China's long-suffering soccer fans said they appreciated Lippi's words after they were translated by Chinese sports websites like Hupu and Tencent sports. Many netizens expressed their gratitude and appreciation, saying the problems of China's men's soccer team go far beyond the ability of the Italian soccer legend, who led Italy to a World Cup win in 2006, to fix.   

"The old man tried his best to help us out, and he deserves all the credit no matter why he resigned. To coach Chinese national team might be the toughest work he has ever done, I hope he can enjoy his life after retiring," said one netizen on Sina Weibo. 

Others were not so understanding, after the defeat put China second in their qualifying group, five points behind Syria. 

"Lippi lost control of the dressing room, and that's why he is responsible for the defeat. It's unacceptable and irresponsible to quit now and not tell us what's going on," said a Sina Weibo user. It was a sentiment echoed by many, who felt that he was too quick to resign, and that he had failed to help the team succeed, despite his sky-high salary. 

Chinese sports media PP Sports reported that Lippi' s salary according to his CFA contract was more than 20 million euros ($22.15 million) a year. 

Lippi has had much more success on the domestic soccer stage in China. During his time as manager of Chinese Super League (CSL) powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande from 2012 to 2014, Lippi led the side to the AFC Champions League title in 2013 and three successive CSL titles. Although he failed in his efforts to get the men's team to the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Lippi won applause for the tactical and psychological changes he made to the team after he took the post in 2016.

Global Times


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