Italy’s World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro was formally unveiled as the new coach of Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande Wednesday, replacing his former national team manager Marcello Lippi.
Lippi announced he was stepping aside after Guangzhou won their fourth consecutive title on Sunday, sparking rumours that Cannavaro would succeed him.
At a press conference at the Guangdong club, Lippi said he would retain the title of “head coach”. But 41-year-old Cannavaro would take over responsiblity for the team’s day-to-day affairs as the club’s new “executive head coach”.
“There might be some misunderstanding about what I said before, that I would give up and ditch the team,” Lippi told reporters.
“No, I’m still the chief director and the head coach of the team, I’m just not going to be on the pitch every day.”
Lippi said he would “check every few days” on the team’s development and would watch the matches from the stands.
The 66-year-old also said he suggested to the club the appointment of an executive head coach so that he could spend more time with his family in Italy.
“I couldn’t do anything when my family had issues, I couldn’t stand that I had to visit home (only) every six months,” Lippi said.
“So I suggested the team should find an executive head coach, which would allow me to visit home every two months.”
Cannavaro had a glittering career at Parma, Juventus and Real Madrid and won the world player of the year award in the same year that he led Italy to World Cup victory in Germany in 2006.
The former centre-back had been assisting Cosmin Olaroiu at Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli.
He is currently being investigated by authorities in his home city of Naples on suspicion of illegally sidestepping €1 million (Dh4.6m) in tax.
Lippi, who managed the Azzurri in their 2006 triumph, led Guangzhou to AFC Champions League glory in 2013 after experiencing huge club success in Europe – winning five Italian Serie A titles and a Uefa Champions League.
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