Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande have officially announced former Italy World Cup-winning boss Marcello Lippi as the club's new coach.
The 60-year-old Italian, who hasn't coached since the Azzurri's failed 2010 World Cup campaign, was unveiled at a club press conference in Guangzhou on Thursday afternoon following Lee Jang-Soo's sacking on Tuesday evening.
Lippi, who has been linked with Guangzhou for the past few months, admitted there had been contact between the two parties since February.
"We first contacted each other four months ago. The president Xu Jiayin and vice president Liu Yongzhuo showed a huge desire to co-operate," Lippi said at the press conference.
"I have seen several games of the club in the Chinese Super League and AFC Champions League. I have remembered their numbers and performances, and soon I will know their names for sure. I also persuaded many of my coaching staff to come to China with me."
Lippi has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the big-spending Guangzhou and will be joined by assistant Narciso Pezzotti and a handful of other Italian coaches.
"I appreciate the support of Guangzhou Evergrande and I have seen many fans wearing our red shirt in Guangzhou city," he added.
"I am glad to see that kind of passion. And in the afternoon，I will go to the pitch and start my mission as the coach."
Lippi also paid tribute to the axed Lee, who guided the club to the 2011 Chinese title and top spot in Group H in the AFC Champions League.
"I have to say thank you to the former coach Lee Jang-Soo. With his hard work the club improved a lot in the past two years," Lippi said.
"With the groundwork he has left, we can be more successful with my biggest passion and professional abilities. I want to bring the modern Italian football style to China."
The Italian also wasn't keen to discuss the financial side of his contract, after rumours the deal was worth €10 million a season, and insisted he was in Guangzhou to change Chinese football.
"I don't like to talk about the question of money, it is the same in my whole career," he said. "I can only tell you the amount the club provides me is very satisfactory, and reaches the leading levels in Europe. I just came here to change Chinese football."
Owner Xu Jiayin said the club has the utmost faith in their new coach, as they strive to become one of the top clubs in Asia.
"I have enough faith in Lippi. He has the world-class football philosphy and charm. I am sure he will bring the club into a new level," Xu said.
Lippi will be joined by new Paraguay international signing Lucas Barrios in Guangzhou when the former Borussia Dortmund striker officially links up with the club on June 1.