World Cup winner with Italy in 2006 Fabio Cannavaro was named the new manager of the Chinese National Team on Friday.
He will be joining a team with very high hopes of becoming a footballing force after many years.
Although it was still not known whether Cannavaro will take the role on a permanent or a temporary basis with Chinese media even speculating that the next in line to lead the national team was to be chosen through a job audition.
Fabio Cannavaro named as China PR head coach! pic.twitter.com/KlJy4u0dwd
— #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) March 15, 2019
Cannavaro will be also keeping his role as head coach with Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande at the same time he’s managing China’s national team.
This means he will be going down as one of the most illustrious figures in the history of Chinese football.
The former Juventus and Real Madrid defender will succeed another important Italian individual, Marcello Lippi who has been in charge of China’s national team since 2016.
Cannavaro will be advised by Marcello Lippi, who stood down from the head coach’s role following China’s exit from January’s Asian Cup at the quarter-final stage.
“The association has carefully made this decision based on comprehensive research of his experience and technical and tactical style, familiarity with Chinese players and other factors,” the Chinese Football Association said.
China’s first match with Cannavaro in charge of the national side will be next Thursday when the hosts play Thailand in the China Cup, which also involves Uruguay and Uzbekistan.
Although the whole Chinese nation is very hopeful of the country’s football progress in the future, the national team was only able to qualify for a World Cup once in history, back in 2002.
Xi Jinping, China’s football-fan president, has vowed to make the country of 1.4 billion people a heavyweight in the sport and wants to host a World Cup one day.
But China are a lowly 72nd in the FIFA rankings, sandwiched between Macedonia and El Salvador, underlining the scale of the task facing Cannavaro.
Cannavaro knows Chinese football well, having coached Tianjin Quanjian in 2016-2017, before taking the Evergrande job in November 2017.