The Chinese Super League (CSL) 5-time winner Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC is set to compete for the trophy of AFC Champions League against United Arab Emirates outfit Al Ahli, of which the first round commences in the Middle East later on this Saturday.
Prior to setting foot on Dubai, one of the most high-profile cities in the area, the CSL giants, led by head coach Felipe Scolari and a bunch of Brazilians including popular Robinho and Pauliniao alongside several Chinese internationals, was faced up with a significant test by Shanghai SIPG in the 2015 campaign.
Despite the circumstance that there’s increasing number of teams with improved squads, the Guangzhou-based club has managed to lift their fifth CSL trophy in a row since their promotion to Chinese top tier soccer league in 2011 after defeating Beijing Guo’an by 2-0 at the Beijing Worker’s Stadium.
Many argue that Guangzhou Evergrande, backed by Chinese commercial tycoons Xu Jianyin and Alibaba Chairman Jack MA, has based these historic achievements on spending which results the introductions of renowned head coaches like Marcello Lippi and Felipe Scolari together with a team of quality players. Well, it is fairly to say that finance played a key role from Guangzhou Evergrande’s first ever trophy in Chinese top division professional soccer league as a newly promoted club to the top of AFC Champions League in the year of 2013. And it also partly explains the club’s dominance in the domestic league over the past few seasons.
However, professional sports, including soccer, is not only about everlasting big spending but also about the performances both on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, Guangzhou Evergrande has deeply impressed the audience both in domestic league and in the AFC Champions League with handful crowns. While off the pitch, the club has become the first listed Asian soccer club, making a sound step forward towards the market. As well as the club management, we’ve seen a much more veteran Guangzhou Evergrande in recent month when the club replaced star coach Canavero with Felipe or even suffered numerous injuries in the midseason.
Moreover, Guangzhou Evergrande has also been leading the way in recruiting professionals who will look after the operation of the whole club. As an insider argued, the gap between Guangzhou Evergrande and other CSL teams is much more insignificant than that between Evergrande’s manager Liu Yongzhuo and directors of other clubs. And that partly explains the importance of finding the right persons to lead the right way.
In nearly a fortnight, the leading Chinese soccer team will be hosting the Al Ahli which has just made debut in the campaign to decide the best Asian club of the 2015 season. Regardless of any result, the money-backed soccer team has set its example for other domestic rising teams with great financial supports and investors who are keen to tap Chinese soccer industry in the upcoming seasons.