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Cannavaro says CSL image has changed but league retains potential

Cannavaro says CSL image has changed but league retains potential

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - AFC Champions League - Group G - Vissel Kobe v Guangzhou Evergrande - Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar - November 28, 2020 Guangzhou Evergrande coach Fabio Cannavaro wearing a protective face mask REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

Former Guangzhou FC manager Fabio Cannavaro said the image of the Chinese Super League (CSL) as an attractive competition had changed in the last few seasons because of some rules that "complicated" matters for managers.

Italian Cannavaro left eight-times champions Guangzhou FC by mutual consent last month, ending his second spell at the side owned by embattled property developers Evergrande with a 2019 title win as well as runners-up finishes in 2018 and 2020.

"The CSL was seen as an attractive, quality league back in 2017-18," the South China Morning Post newspaper quoted Cannavaro as saying in an interview with Tencent Sports.

"But then things changed.

"Clubs were requested to send more young players to the field. Some of these youngsters weren't good enough to play in the CSL, but managers had to put them in the games - even for only a few minutes - because that's the rule of the league.

"These rules grew more complicated later. We can't deny that the CSL is a great league that has many splendid managers, top players and stands filled with fans in the stadiums. It's a league with great potential."

This season, Guangzhou have been hit by the departures of foreign players such as ex-Barcelona and Brazil midfielder Paulinho and his compatriot, Anderson Talisca.

CSL teams have invested heavily to recruit foreign players on lucrative contracts and Cannavaro said the league needed big names, pointing to the impact that Belgium international Axel Witsel had under him at Tianjin Quanjian.

"When Witsel came to play in China, there was no doubt that he wanted to make more money. But he used actions to show how a top professional should train, play and eat," said World Cup-winner Cannavaro.

"For young players, he's a role model. Everyone trains hard, hoping to keep up with his rhythm. So ... the departure of these players will also cause depression in some aspects of the system."


Source: Reuters


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