Football: Media and fans applaud Lippi's contributions to the game in China

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese football fans and media heaped praise on Italy's World Cup winning-coach Marcello Lippi on Friday after he resigned from Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande following three trophy-laden years.

Evergrande, one of Asia's richest clubs, have taken the last four Chinese Super League titles, three of them under Lippi, and won the Asian Champions League in 2013.

He had stepped aside as team coach in November, to be replaced by Fabio Cannavaro, his captain for the 2006 World Cup triumph in Germany, but stayed on as technical director.

Evergrande said the 66-year-old had asked to end his contract early for "health and family reasons".

The club praised him as "a great tactician, a gentleman and a huge contributor to Chinese soccer".

Lippi said it would be his last club job and he was "going back home for a break".

He added if he was offered a national team coach position, he would consider it.

China's official news agency Xinhua cited sources close to the Italian saying that he was waiting for opportunities to take charge of a team who could qualify for the 2018 World Cup.