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Villas-Boas departs SIPG after rocky year

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-02 06:55

Truculent coach failed to meet expectations with Shanghai club

SHANGHAI - Andre Villas-Boas left Shanghai SIPG on Thursday after the Portuguese coach failed to lead the big-spending CSL club to a trophy in his turbulent first season in China.

The 40-year-old, who will drive in the Dakar Rally in January, saw his side lose last Sunday's Chinese FA Cup final to underdog Shanghai Shenhua and had frequent run-ins with the association.

The two-legged loss was Villas-Boas' last chance for silverware after SIPG finished second in the Chinese Super League behind Guangzhou Evergrande and lost in the semifinals of the Asian Champions League.

"SIPG and the players have achieved success, progress and also had some regrets," said a club statement, thanking the coach.

Villas-Boas departs SIPG after rocky year

"We announce that SIPG and Mr Villas-Boas will part ways towards their respective goals."

Villas-Boas was touted as the next Jose Mourinho when he left Porto to take over at Chelsea in July 2011, but he was fired eight months after arriving at Stamford Bridge.

He went on to take charge of Tottenham Hotspur and then Zenit St Petersburg in Russia.

He joined Shanghai in November 2016 after former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was dismissed, reportedly charged with winning at least one title for a team that already had striker Hulk and went on to sign fellow Brazilian international Oscar from Chelsea for an Asian-record $71 million.

Media reports at the time suggested Villas-Boas was being paid an annual salary of around $13.7 million.

Villas-Boas retained the support of some SIPG fans even as the trophy hunt faltered, but he clashed with the CFA on several occasions over its running of the game and some media accused him of being arrogant and disrespectful.

He was banned for two games in June for a social media post supporting Oscar, who was hit with an eightmatch suspension for starting a brawl during a CSL match.

In September, Villas-Boas was banned for eight matches for "insulting" a referee.

He had become increasingly irritable as the season wore on, making several subtle criticisms of the CFA and saying he was holding back because he did not want to be banned again.

Villas-Boas was also fined $14,000 by the Asian Football Confederation for his "offensive" comments aimed at a referee in the Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Guangzhou Evergrande.

He had also accused the home side of staging a series of bizarre road accidents to delay SIPG's arrival at the stadium.

Like Manchester United manager and fellow Portuguese Mourinho, Villas-Boas earned a move to Chelsea after success at Porto, including winning the Europa League.

But he was unable to replicate Mourinho's brilliance with the Blues and was shown the door after less than a season.

That did not dissuade Tottenham from hiring Villas-Boas as manager in July 2012. He lasted 17 months with Spurs before getting the boot, then in March 2014 he took over at Zenit, where he went on to win the league title.

It has been reported that Villas-Boas, a longtime auto racing enthusiast, now plans to take a break from soccer, partly to contest the Dakar Rally.

He will drive a Toyota Hilux in the grueling two-week endurance race, which starts on Jan 6 in Lima, Peru and traverses the Andes before finishing in Argentina.

Agence France-presse

Villas-Boas departs SIPG after rocky year

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