They called themselves the richest club in the world, and they imported stars.  Now they have fallen to the bottom.  The number of employees is 3.7 million.

Guangzhou FC, until recently known as Guangzhou Evergrande, is a club that has celebrated the Chinese championship eight times since 2011. It also won the AFC Champions League, had legends like Fabio Cannavaro, Marcelo Lippi and Luiz Felipe Scolari on the bench, and spent huge sums on Players, often with very famous names. However, this is history. Today, the same club has hit rock bottom. In the Chinese league, he is in the relegation zone, finished the group stage of the Champions League with a score of 0:24, and his team is equal to less than Stal Mielec.

Until a few years ago, they were proudly describing themselves as the richest club in the world. Evergrande, the club’s owner and then a development industry mogul, was worth $3.35 billion in 2016. It’s no wonder, then, that the stars traveled to Guangzhou voluntarily, counting on fantastic contracts.

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The most expensive conversion? He brought Paulinho from Barcelona for 42 million euros, although this deal should be treated with a grain of salt, because earlier Blaugrana bought a Brazilian from Guangzhou for a little less – 38 million euros.

The team also saw players such as Jackson Martinez, Talisca, Lucas Barrios, Robinho and Alberto Gilardino, and coached in 2012-2018 by Marcelo Lippi, Fabio Cannavaro and Luiz Felipe Scolari. It has become mundane.

But more importantly, spending a lot of money went hand in hand with the successes. The club won the Chinese Championship in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019. It also won the AFC Champions League twice during this time.

From Heaven to Hell

So what happened that a club that described itself as the richest in the world nearly went bankrupt within a few years? The owners company – Evergrande Real Estate Group – has experienced serious problems. At the end of 2021, its debt was estimated at $300 billion.

The company has just been declared bankrupt. Its collapse could shake the Chinese financial market and have a major impact on global markets. According to experts, the fate of the company now depends on the Chinese authorities. And these haven’t been eager to save developers lately – I reported to the “” portal a few months ago.

No more burning money in the oven

As if that wasn’t enough, the Chinese government and local football authorities decided to introduce strict regulations. Goal? Officially, it was about addressing the clubs, which since then has been to reduce spending horrendous amounts on contracts for foreign players or coaches, and to focus more on the development of Polish football, which has been in a major crisis for years.

But in reality, the politicians also wanted to hit the billionaires who run the clubs. Show them who is most important here. For this reason, in 2021, they prevented the possibility of adding the name of the company to the name of the entire club. And so the Guangzhou Evergrande became Guangzhou FC.

However, the most significant changes were introduced a few years ago. In 2017, the rate was 100% tax on each transfer from outside China, which will exceed 6 million euros. A little later, there was also a regulation that stated that the maximum salary for one player could be 3 million euros per year. It was a so-called game changer. Previously, the biggest stars of the Chinese league were making such sums in about a month. The coronavirus pandemic has done its job, too, because it is being handled very strictly in China.

Fugitive clubs and Fugitive stars

After these important changes, many companies began to withdraw from the management and financing of clubs. In this way, for example, fell Jiangsu Suning, who had won the tournament only a few months ago. Many other clubs also went down in history or were on the verge of bankruptcy. The league, which was star-studded until recently, has essentially become a league based on players from China, although there are also exceptions. Oscar still represents the Shanghai port, but he is also set to become a Flamengo player in the coming days. Marouane Fellaini plays for Shandong Taishan.

And Guangzhou? Today it consists entirely of Chinese football players. The market value of all employees … 3.7 million euros. Players of all 18 Polish Ekstraklasa clubs are valued at an even greater amount. This shows the size of the changes. From signing Cannavaro, Scolari, Lippi, Paulinho, Robinho and Gilardino, to playing with local youth.

Compromise in the cups, problems in the league

Guangzhou FC finished the previous season in third place in the league. In the current competition, after 10 rounds, she occupies the drop zone. They collected only six points, won two matches and had up to eight defeats.

It was even worse in this year’s Champions League, although it must be emphasized that Chinese teams have completely ignored this competition, which has been affected by restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Two teams – Shanghai Port and Changhun Yatai withdrew from the competition entirely, with Shandong Taishan and Guanzghou FC sending the reserve made up of mostly junior players. Effect? For Guangzhou: zero wins, zero draws, six losses. Scale goals 0:24. There was no shortage of shame. 0:8 with Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale, 0:5 with Johor DT from Malaysia, 0:5 with Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea.

Problems on the field

The construction of the new Guangzhou Stadium, which is scheduled to accommodate 100,000 fans and is declared the largest football facility in the world, has also been completed. It was due to be ready in December 2022. Initially, he informed Evergrande that despite the financial problems, the completion of the stadium on schedule was not in danger.

In November 2021, Reuters revealed that the facility had been seized by the Chinese government.

Construction is said to have been suspended for about a year. The steel structure was rusty. weeds appear – We read on Twitter the profile of “China Sport Vision 2050”.

The BBC reported yesterday that debt-laden Evergrande Real Estate Group will receive $818 million, but will lose the usufruct of land linked to the stadium being built.

Under this agreement, the land, buildings and other items related to the stadium will be transferred to the Guangzhou Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau – We read.


More than ten years ago, the President of China, Xi Jinping, announced huge investments that would finally make football in China make a difference on the international stage. His dream was also to organize a world championship in the future.

Today, however, the clubs from this country are going through a major crisis, and the Chinese team is far from satisfactory results. And in the last group stage, which was intended for the selection of participants in this year’s World Cup, it took fifth place out of six teams. She has won one in ten matches. It was clearly behind the emergence of Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia and Oman.

A few weeks ago, the Chinese Football Association also abandoned the organization of the Asian Cup, which was scheduled to be held in its stadiums in 2023. A reason? Another wave of the coronavirus pandemic in China.

So football in China is definitely not going forward today. On the contrary, the problems are increasing in size. Certainly, the dominant power from Guangzhou does not have a bright future ahead of it.

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