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Guangzhou FC, China’s first billionaire, relegated

Guangzhou FC, China's first billionaire, relegated

The defeat this Tuesday against Changchun Yatai by 1-4 has meant what seemed inevitable for a year. Guangzhou FC will be second division team in 2023 after only winning three matches out of thirty-three and not winning a single match since August 21.

The decline of such a name seems incredible considering how the last eleven years have unfolded in the Chinese Super League. From 2011 to 2019 they won every league except 2018, when they came second, five points behind Wu Lei’s Shanghai Port.

However, this season looked very bad from before it started. Ricardo Goulart left in Septemberone of the great stars of the team during this decade and the top scorer in the club’s history, and along with him many others who kept the team competitive. Before the start of the league, they lost all six of their group stage matches in the Asian Champions League with 0 goals for and 24 against. A 2022 to forget.

The Evergrande crisis, its sentence

Until very recently, Guangzhou FC was called Guangzhou Evergrande. The Evergrande Group real estate company diversified so much that it bought the club in 2010 to make it one of the giants in China.

However, In September 2021, he began to flirt with bankruptcy when his debts rose to more than 250 billion euros. He was finally able to avoid bankruptcy, but they were no longer around to invest large amounts of money in football. A few days after the news broke that he could not afford to pay the debt, Fabio Cannavaro was fired after four years in office.

China’s big project

In addition to the last Italian Ballon d’Or, in Guangzhou they have had other big names as coaches. Scolari and Marcello Lippi also stopped by. But what really caught the attention of this club were its player signings. From very early they began to take great players more than usable for European football.

The first was the Argentine Darío Conca, in 2011, for 8 million euros. Later, more arrived. Lucas Barrios, Elkeson, Diamanti, Ricardo Goulart, Alan, Paulinho, Jackson Martínez, Talisca… and even Robinho. Other clubs like the Shanghai SIPG (they hold the league transfer record with the 60 million euros they paid for Oscar to Chelsea), the Jiansu Suning, the Beijing Guoan or the Dalian Yifang they were adding to a market that did not stop increasing. The Chinese soccer project was a failure.

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