Big money can be big mistake, says Tianjin boss
SHANGHAI — Fabio Cannavaro has warned that foreign stars who move to China in the belief that it will be an easy payday are doomed to fail.
The Italian World Cup winner and coach of Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian signed prolific striker Anthony Modeste on loan last month from Cologne with a view to a permanent $34 million move.
The Frenchman joins a growing list of expensive signings moving to China on big contracts, with Carlos Tevez at Shanghai Shenhua reportedly on $45 million a year, the highest wages in world soccer.
Tevez has flopped spectacularly however and looks sure to leave China at the end of the season in November.
Cannavaro, who at Tianjin has overseen the rejuvenation of Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato and also manages Belgian international Axel Witsel, said: “It depends on the character.
“If the players come here with motivation, they can really enjoy it. But if the players come here just to get money, they won’t enjoy it.”
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s CSL clash at second-placed Shanghai SIPG, Cannavaro said: “Football in China is not easy. You play in stadiums like this where if you are not fit, if you don’t concentrate 100 percent, you cannot play.”
Cannavaro, a former defender who lifted the World Cup as captain of Italy in 2006, denied that Modeste had swapped top-level European soccer in Germany for China only for a cash windfall.
“If you change countries, if you come to Asia to play, of course the money is important because it is not just about glory,” said Cannavaro, who has
If the players come here with motivation, they can really enjoy it. But if the players come here just to get money, they won’t enjoy it.”
Fabio Cannavaro, coach of CSL side Tianjin Quanjian
led Tianjin to third in the CSL standings.
“But I said to Tony (Modeste) about our project: ‘We are a young club but we want to improve a lot in the next two to three years and our objective is to win the Asian Champions League’.”
Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said on Sunday that he was the subject of a big-money offer from China, but his club Borussia Dortmund was not prepared to let him leave this season.
Aubameyang, who is under contract until 2020, told German newspaper Die Welt that there was an offer from an unnamed Chinese club but Dortmund put its foot down while the player himself did not seem keen on the move.
The 28-year-old, who was Dortmund’s standout performer for the past two seasons, had been linked to Tianjin and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
“Yes, I had an offer. But I think the Chinese were hard pressed to submit a bid to Borussia Dortmund,” said Aubameyang.
“I think the structures are still not as professional as in Europe.”
However, the Gabon international admitted he was tempted.
“It is normal that you think about it, if so much money is offered,” he said.
“I know that many people have said that you can not go to China, because the football (there) is a step back.
“But I think that anybody would think about it when he gets such an offer.”
Aubameyang, the Bundesliga’s top scorer last term with 31 goals, scored in Saturday’s German Super Cup defeat at home to old rival Bayern Munich.
Dortmund lost 5-4 in a penalty shootout, with Marc Bartra seeing his decisive spotkick saved. The match had finished 2-2 over 90 minutes.