China's Guangzhou Evergrande have announced the signing of FIFA World Cup™-winning Italian coach Marcello Lippi, in the latest foreign acquisition by clubs in the nation's Super League.
"In accordance with the strategic needs of the club... the following decision was made: to hire Mr. Marcello Lippi as the head coach of Guangzhou Evergrande," the club in China's southern industrial city said in a statement.
"The period of hiring is two years and six months," it added, without giving further details about Lippi's salary.
Lippi, 64, led Italy to FIFA World Cup glory in 2006 but he has not worked since leaving the post following the national side's ignominious performance in 2010, when they became the first defending champions to exit at the group stage.
The Guangzhou Evergrande announcement follows persistent media rumours and comes despite coach Lee Jang-Soo this week taking the team into the AFC Champions League last 16.
In its statement, the club said Lee would step down as the team's head coach, but it was unclear whether he would stay on in another capacity.
Speaking at a press conference broadcast live on Chinese state television, Lippi said he was first contacted by the club in May last year. "I dispatched an assistant to go see the club's matches, which made me even more determined. I am very enthusiastic about coming to China," he said.
Despite the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the silver-haired Italian comes with excellent club credentials after winning the UEFA Champions League with Juventus, with whom he also claimed several Serie A titles.