Lippi hails progress of Chinese football
Guangzhou (China): Former World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi said here that the historical title-taking feat of Guangzhou Evergrande reflected the progress made by Chinese football.
"Winning an international title like the AFC Champions League is very important to Guangzhou as well as to China," said the 65-year-old, who took Italy to World Cup triumph in 2006, reports Xinhua.
"In my opinion, Guangzhou`s glory is a kind of confirmation to the soccer level of the whole country."
After tying South Korea`s reigning K-League champions FC Seoul 2-2 in the first leg away match and 1-1 here Saturday night at home, Lippi`s Evergrande wrapped up the AFC Champions League final 3-3 on aggregate and lifted the trophy thanks to a better away goal advantage.
"Everyone can see that the Guangzhou squad has grown a lot, more skilled, more organised and more thirsty to win," he added. "The victory earned by the team showed how our players have progressed. A big number of them are national players at the same time."
The triumph is China`s first Asian win in 23 years as the country`s football fans, who had little to celebrate on both national and professional level in the last decade, have not tasted continental success since Liaoning in 1990.
With the Asian crown, Lippi becomes the first coach to win both the European and the Asian club championships.