Shandong Luneng Appoint Branko Ivankovic As New Coach

The Chinese Super League side have appointed Ivankovic as their new man in charge...
Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng have appointed Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic as their new head coach. The 55-year-old has signed a two-year contract ahead of next season's campaign.

Ivankovic was previously assistant to Ciro Blazevic when Croatia finished third at the 1998 World Cup and then led Iran in the tournament in Germany eight years later before enjoying a two-year spell with Dinamo Zagreb.

"I know Shandong are aiming high and I would also like to set a high goal for myself," said Ivankovic at a press conference. "I want to leave my footprint on the club's history.

"Our goal for next year is to finish at least in the top three in the domestic league. Our players have to become more professional in the coming years."

Shandong Luneng were in the market for a new gaffer following the departure of Ljubisa Tumbakovic. The latter won the league and cup double in 2006 and the Super League title last year, but he had been under pressure since May after failing to guide Shandong past the group stage of the Asian Champions League.

Stefan Coerts,