SHANGHAI,: Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro was named manager of Chinese Super League (CSL) champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday, returning to the club that cut him loose in 2015.
The 44-year-old, who quit Tianjin Quanjian earlier this week, was unveiled at a Guangzhou press conference and replaces Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at China’s perennial league winners.
Cannavaro, who resigned as Tianjin boss just days after steering them into the AFC Champions League for the first time in their history, was in charge at Evergrande for seven months to June 2015.
But he was replaced by World Cup-winning coach Scolari after what Cannavaro described at the time as a “consensual resolution” of his contract.
Cannavaro’s abrupt departure in 2015 disappointed many Guangzhou Evergrande fans and he left with the team top of the league and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Hundreds of fans had mobbed him at the airport as he departed from the southern Chinese city.
The Italian former international defender, who captained his country to World Cup glory in 2006, next managed for a brief time in Saudi Arabia before returning to China with ambitious Tianjin.
He led them to promotion from China’s second-tier League One and then to third in the CSL — and a Champions League play-off berth — when the season finished on Saturday, beating Evergrande 2-1 away on the final day.
Cannavaro, whose trophy-laden playing career took in Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid, moves to an Evergrande side that has dominated the CSL, winning the title seven times in a row.
Guangzhou Evergrande reached this season’s Champions League quarter-finals before being narrowly beaten over two legs by Andre Villas-Boas’s Shanghai SIPG.
Former Portuguese international Paulo Sousa has replaced Cannavaro at Tianjin-AFP.