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Jordi Cruyff returns to China but must quarantine first


Shanghai (AFP) – Jordi Cruyff will return to China as coach of Shenzhen FC, the Super League club said Friday, but will need to quarantine for coronavirus before he takes up the post.

The former Manchester United and Barcelona midfielder, and son of late Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, quit as Ecuador boss late last month without taking charge of a match.

He was hired to lead Ecuador in January but the coronavirus then struck and Cruyff returned to Spain, where he spent most his playing career, and never returned to the South American country.

The 46-year-old succeeds Roberto Donadoni at Shenzhen after the AC Milan legend was sacked just four matches — and one win — into the virus-delayed Chinese Super League season.

Cruyff, who as a player was never able to escape the shadow of his father, has been consistently linked with jobs in China since a successful spell with Chongqing Lifan.

He took over at Chongqing in August 2018 when they were in the relegation zone and took them to safety, but left in December 2019 after failing to agree a new contract.

Cruyff’s return to China will not be straight forward.

“Head coach Cruyff plans to arrive in China on the 16th of this month (Sunday) and will then undergo medical observation for coronavirus,” Shenzhen said.

Anyone arriving from overseas is normally required to do two weeks’ quarantine in China, meaning Cruyff is unlikely to take charge of his new side until early next month.

The CSL has been reformatted because of the coronavirus with the 16 teams split into two groups in bio-secure “bubbles” in the cities of Suzhou and Dalian.

Shenzhen are sixth of the eight teams in the Dalian group.

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