Slaven Bilic named Beijing boss after West Brom sacking

Beijing (AFP) – Slaven Bilic was named coach of Chinese Super League Beijing Guoan on Wednesday, three weeks after he was sacked by Chinese-owned West Bromwich Albion.

The 52-year-old from Croatia has signed a contract until the end of 2022 and replaces Frenchman Bruno Genesio, Beijing said.

Bilic, who was an imperious central defender as a player, will be expected to have the club from the Chinese capital competing for the CSL title.

Under Genesio Beijing again fell short in a coronavirus-disrupted season which ended in November with Jiangsu Suning dethroning Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande as champions.

Announcing Bilic’s appointment on the Twitter-like Weibo, Beijing praised the former Croatia boss for his tactical nous and strong leadership.

Beijing’s squad includes French-born Congolese striker Cedric Bakambu, Brazilian international midfielder Renato Augusto and London-born Chinese international Nico Yennaris.

Bilic, who also played for and managed West Ham United, was sacked by West Brom last month with the club one place off the bottom of the English Premier League.

Bilic, who was replaced by Sam Allardyce, had been at The Hawthorns since 2019 and led them to promotion out of the second-tier Championship.

Bilic joins former Newcastle United, Liverpool and Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez in China. The Spaniard manages Dalian Pro.

The new CSL season starts in the spring but is likely to take place in a secure “bubble” to thwart virus infections.

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