Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club is a professional Chinese football club that participates in the Chinese Super League under the license of the Chinese Football Association. The team is based in Guangzhou, Guangdong, and their home stadium is the Tianhe Stadium which has a seating capacity of 58,500. Their majority shareholders are the Evergrande Real Estate Group (56.71%) and the e-commerce company Alibaba Group (37.81%) while the rest of the shares are traded in the Chinese OTC system. The club is the only Chinese football club to win the AFC Champions League twice, in 2013 and 2015. The club is also the first Chinese club to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup, making its first appearance in 2013.

Founded in June 1954 under the name of Guangzhou Football Team, it was the first football club in China. In 1993 the club was taken over by the Apollo Group and the team was renamed Guangzhou Apollo Football Club. In 2006 the company changed ownership, being bought by the pharmaceutical group of the homonymous city, and was renamed Guangzhou Pharmaceutical F.C. Fans and reporters usually call Guangzhou GPC team or Guangzhou Team.

The club was promoted to the first division in 2007 after nine seasons in the second division. From this point on, the club’s growth is fast and constant. Easily regained promotion after a new descent in the second division in the 2010 season, Guangzhou at the beginning of 2011 operates considerably on the market. In addition to local stars Zhang Linpeng, Feng Xiaoting, Yang Jun, Jiang Ning and Yang Hao, Evergrande Group also invests in the overseas market. Among others, the Brazilian naturalized Serbian striker Cléo and the Argentine midfielder Darío Conca arrive. Guangzhou at the end of the season celebrates its first national title, with 4 games to spare.

On 16 May 2012, Marcello Lippi’s appointment as coach was made official with whom he won the championship and the national cup at the end of October. On 9 November 2013, the team won their first AFC Champions League against South Koreans of Football Club Seoul, after two draws: 2-2 in the first leg, 1-1 in the return.

In 2014, the year in which the company acquired the Italians Alessandro Diamanti and Alberto Gilardino, it achieved its fourth consecutive success at national level. The two Italian players in January 2015 returned to Italy at Fiorentina. On November 2, 2014 Marcello Lippi, having mortgaged the victory of his third championship with the Chinese team, leaves the Guangzhou bench and becomes the new technical director. On 5 November 2014, at the request of the new technical director Marcello Lippi, Fabio Cannavaro is hired as new coach. On February 26, 2015 Marcello Lippi resigns as technical director. On 4 June 2015 with the team in first place in the league and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the coach Fabio Cannavaro was sacked and replaced by Felipe Scolari. But he is later recalled until now.

According to Forbes, Guangzhou Evergrande is the most valuable football team in China, with a team value of US$282 million and an estimated revenue of US$57 million in 2015.

In the 2019 season, Guangzhou Evergrande won the super league with Beijing Guoan finishing in second place.

Published by Marco Perrotta

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