World Cup winner Lippi resigns from China managerial role

Goal China

Former World Cup and Champions League-winning coach Marcello Lippi has announced his resignation as manager of the Chinese national team after a World Cup qualifying defeat to Syria.

The game, doubling as a qualifying match for both the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 Asian Cup in China, ended in a 2-1 win for Syria and saw them go five points clear of China at the top of their five-team group.

China are already qualified for the Asian Cup as hosts, but they are now level on points with the Philippines midway through the group, which also contains the Maldives and Guam.

“I don't want to talk about this game,” Lippi, 71, told reporters after the Syria defeat.

“A team should give everything on the pitch. The tactics of the head coach should be carried out. If the player is afraid of losing the game, then there is no fighting spirit, desire, guts.

“It is my responsibility, the head coach's responsibility, although we defeated Guam and the Maldives, but the team that we played against today was better, more coordinated and organised than us.

“My annual salary is very high. I am fully responsible for this loss. Now I declare that I officially resigned.”

Lippi had been in the China job since 2016, having previously won three consecutive Chinese Super League titles, an Asian Champions League, the Chinese FA Cup and the Chinese Super Cup with Guangzhou Evergrande.

More famously, Lippi managed Italy to the 2006 World Cup title, an achievement which also saw him receive numerous personal awards in the aftermath.

Italy’s win in 2006 meant Lippi became the first manager to win both the Champions League and World Cup, after lifting the European title with Juventus in 1996. The feat has only since been matched by Vicente del Bosque, who managed it with Real Madrid and Spain.

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Across two hugely successful spells at Juventus, Lippi also won five Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, among others.

His time in China later saw him become the first manager to win both the European and Asian variations of the Champions League.

Lippi took his first senior managerial role in 1985, and has since also managed the likes of Inter and Napoli.