China’s Evergrande extend Scolari’s contract

Beijing (AFP) – Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has been given a new deal by Guangzhou Evergrande after guiding the Asian giants to their sixth consecutive Chinese Super League title, the club announced, putting to rest doubts about his future.

“Continue the fight! #Be the best forever#” the team wrote over a picture of Scolari on its verified Weibo social media account Tuesday.

The Brazilian signed a “1+1” deal with Evergrande, the club said. It did not define the term but reports described it as a one-year deal, with an option for another year.

Well-heeled Evergrande, owned by an eponymous property company and Chinese internet giant Alibaba, have a stranglehold on Chinese football and a record of ruthlessly replacing coaches.

They were poised to replace Scolari next season and bring another World Cup-winning manager, Marcello Lippi, back to the club.

But they stepped aside to allow the Italian to take the helm at China’s national team, who are once again struggling in the latest round of World Cup qualifiers.

Even with Lippi on board China look unlikely to reach the next World Cup, slowing President Xi Jinping’s push to turn the country into a football powerhouse.

Scolari, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, had said over the weekend he hoped to see out his contract.

The Brazilian led the team to win the AFC Champions League in 2015, but his stock plummeted when their title defence ended at the group stage in this year’s competition.

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