Dalian Professional F.C.

Dalian Professional Football Club (Chinese: 大连人足球俱乐部; lit. 'The Dalianese, F.C.') is a professional Chinese football club based in Dalian, Liaoning, that participates in the China Super League under licence from the Chinese Football Association (CFA). Their home stadium is Dalian Sports Centre Stadium with a capacity of 61,000.

Dalian Professional
Dàlián Rén
Dalian Professional F.C.svg
Full nameDalian Professional Football Club
Nickname(s)Blue Hawks
Founded1983; 40 years ago (1983)
GroundDalian Sports Centre Stadium
ManagerXie Hui
LeagueChinese Super League
2022Super League, 11th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The club was refounded on September 20, 2009, by Dalian Aerbin Group Company, Ltd., and started from the third tier of the Chinese football pyramid, the China League Two. Winning two consecutive league titles in the second and third tier professional football leagues, they were promoted to the top tier in 2012 Chinese Super League season where they experienced their highest ever placing of fifth in the same season. In 2014, they were relegated from the Chinese Super League. In December 2015, they were renamed Dalian Yifang Football Club. In October 2017, they won the Chinese League One championship and successfully upgraded. On May 25, 2019, Dalian Yifang Football Club was renamed Dalian Professional Football Club, with new logo unveiled on January 21, 2020.[1]


Club historyEdit

Dalian Aerbin (2009–2014)Edit

On September 20, 2009, Dalian Aerbin Group Co. Ltd. established a new professional football club named Dalian Aerbin (Chinese: 大连阿尔滨) and hired former Chinese footballer Li Ming to become the club manager. The club's name Aerbin comes from the Manchu language meaning a place with water, which is also the name of a small town in Jinzhou District of Dalian where Dalian Aerbin Group Co. Ltd is located. They would soon move into the Dalian University Stadium in the Dalian Development Area and bring in Chi Shangbin as their co-manager and Sun Xianlu as their Head coach.[2] Starting in the third tier league, the club made their debut in 2010 China League Two season. The club brought in established top tier Chinese Super League players such as Guo Hui, Chang Lin and Yang Lin. The quality of these players helped the club win their regional division section and later the league title over Tianjin Songjiang as the club won the championship.[3]

In the following season, the club hired its first foreign coach, Bulgarian manager Aleksandar Stankov. Dalian Aerbin F.C. set up a surprising winning streak and won the 2011 China League One championship.[4] With their meteoric rise to the Super League, the club decided to use the 30,775 seater Jinzhou Stadium as its home stadium and shared it with their local rival Dalian Shide as well as signing a more experienced manager in Chang Woe-Ryong who had previously managed in the Chinese Super League with Qingdao Jonoon.[5] The club initially struggled in the league and the club brought in Aleksandar Stanojević as the head coach.[6] By July 11, 2012 Dalian Aerbin brought in a marquee player in former Barcelona F.C. midfielder Seydou Keita who departed the Spanish team on a free transfer and helped ensure Dalian Aerbin remain within the league.[7] At the end of the 2012 league season Stanojevć managed to not only avoid relegation but actually guided the club to fifth within the league.

On 30 November 2012, Aerbin Group acquired the local rival Dalian Shide F.C. by taking on responsibility of their 330 million RMB debt after Dalian Shide's chairman Xu Ming was arrested for bribing and corruption.[8] In hopes of bringing in a harmonious merger of the two teams, former Dalian Shide manager Xu Hong was brought in for the start of the 2013 Chinese Super League. However, after only 63 days in charge he had to resign after the Chinese Football Association found that he manipulated a match while as a manager at Sichuan First City and was given a 5-year suspension from all football activity, which forced Li Ming to start the season as their caretaker manager.[9] Chinese Football Association called off this merger according to regulations, and decided that former Dalian Shide players should join the free market, while Dalian Aerbin could only sign them through normal transfer, 5 at most, instead of taking over the whole team.[10] This incident caused Aerbin to face some serious financial problems, being unable to pay the salaries, bonuses, or even maintenance of the stadium.[11] At the end of 2014 Chinese Super League, Aerbin was relegated to China League One.

Dalian Yifang (2015–2019)Edit

With Dalian Aerbin back in the China League One division and with the loss of revenue generated from being in the top tier the club could not afford to maintain their squad, which saw a mass exodus of players.[12] Mikael Stahre was hired as the Head coach at the start of the 2015 league campaign and looked to be pushing for promotion, which saw Dalian Yifang Group Co. Ltd on 8 July 2015 buy majority shares within the club.[13] The purchase was promoted by Wang Jianlin and his Dalian Wanda Group who are a main shareholder of the Yifang Group (一方, "one region"), with the investment signalling a return of football ownership from Wang Jianlin who had previously owned Dalian Wanda F.C.[14] The club failed to win promotion back into the top tier after finishing third place at the end of the 2015 season and officially changed their name to Dalian Yifang F.C. (Chinese: 大连一方) in December 2015.[15] On 10 July 2015 in a press conference to confirm the Yifang Group's investment, the general manager Shi Xueqing (石雪清) admitted that the club was still losing money.[16]

In the 2017 China League One season Dalian Yifang won the division title and promotion back into the top tier under Head coach Juan Ramón López Caro.[17] Despite this success the Dalian Football Association announced he was replaced by Ma Lin, which saw speculation grow that the club were still in financial difficulties and were looking for the local government Dalian Sports Bureau to takeover the club.[18] On 20 February 2018 the Wanda Group took full control on the club after selling their 17% share in Atlético Madrid to Israeli businessman Idan Ofer on 14 February 2018.[19] The Wanda Group would use the money taken from Atlético Madrid and invest it in bringing in Argentinian international Nicolás Gaitán and Belgium international Yannick Carrasco.[20]

The team and the Wanda Group sought further influence in the 2019 season. In February 2019, the club completed another marquee signing from Europe, this time acquiring the services of Napoli man Marek Hamšík, who signed for a reported fee of about €20 million (£18m/$23m). Gaitán left the team to play for the MLS side Chicago Fire after just one season.[21] The team signed with Korean manager Choi Kang-hee, but had less-than-expected performance as the league went halfways. In July 2019, Dalian Pro ended contract with Choi, while Rafael Benítez was introduced to the team, that he "was impressed by chairman Wang's passion and future plan on football".[22][23] Salomon Rondon also joined from Newcastle United, as a response to Benítez's call.

Dalian Professional (2020–present)Edit

On 21 January 2020, Dalian Yifang changed their name to Dalian Professional.[24] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Chinese Super League did not start until July, after when Carrasco decided to leave the team. Dalian Pro and Benitez focused on aggressive promotion of young players, putting older players down to the reserves, as the 2020 league do not have much relegation pressure.

In January 2021, Benítez and Dalian Pro parted ways.[25] Hamsik and Rondon also decided to leave. As the CSL introduced further limit on salary cap and transfer fees, the team seems to reach a post-marquee era, by not introducing new foreign players, and remained low-profile. The team appointed José González, but relegated to China League One after the season.

On 12 March 2022, Dalian Pro announced major changes in its owners. Wanda Group decided to quit, and the team would be taken over temporarily by a government-led reforming work team. Past debts and operating costs of the first team, youth training facilities and projects for the next three years would still be covered by Wanda Group. The Dalian Pro Academy Base was donated to DETA Holdings (德泰控股), a state-invested company in Dalian.[26]

On 27 May 2022, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) announced that Dalian Pro, who had been relegated from the top flight at the end of last season, would compete in the 18-team top flight, as a replacement for disbanded club Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic.[27]

Ownership and naming historyEdit

Year Owner Club name Sponsored team name
2009–15 Dalian Aerbin Group Dalian Aerbin Football Club
2015 Dalian Yifang Group
2016–2020 Dalian Yifang Football Club
2020–2021 Dalian Wanda Group Dalian Professional Football Club
2022– TBA Dalian Professional Football Club

Current squadEdit

First teamEdit

As of 1 September 2022[28]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   CHN Zhang Chong
2 DF   CHN Lin Longchang
3 DF   CHN Shan Pengfei
5 MF   CHN Wu Wei
6 DF   CHN Wang Xianjun
7 MF   CHN Lin Liangming
8 DF   CHN Zhu Ting
9 FW   CHN Shan Huanhuan
10 MF   BUL Borislav Tsonev
11 MF   CHN Sun Guowen
13 DF   CHN Wang Yaopeng
14 DF   CHN Huang Jiahui
15 FW   CHN Zhao Jianbo
16 DF   CHN Tong Lei
17 FW   GER Streli Mamba
18 DF   CHN He Yupeng
19 FW   CHN Wang Zhen'ao
20 MF   CHN Wang Tengda
21 MF   CHN Gui Zihan
No. Pos. Nation Player
22 DF   CHN Dong Yanfeng
23 FW   CHN Shang Yin
24 DF   CHN Liu Le
25 FW   CHN Feng Zeyuan
26 MF   CHN Cui Ming'an
28 MF   CHN Fei Yu
30 GK   CHN Wu Yan
31 MF   CHN Lü Peng
32 GK   CHN Kudirat Ablet
33 MF   CHN Song Zhiwei
35 MF   CHN Wang Yu
36 GK   CHN Wang Jinshuai
37 MF   CHN Ning Hao
38 MF   CHN Lü Zhuoyi
39 FW   CHN Yan Xiangchuang
40 MF   SRB Nemanja Bosančić
44 DF   HKG Vas Nuñez
45 FW   CTA Lobi Manzoki

Reserve squadEdit

As of 1 March 2019

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
6 MF   CHN Zhu Xiaogang
27 MF   CHN Cheng Hui
35 DF   CHN Yang Shanping
36 DF   CHN Zhou Xiao
43 DF   CHN Bi Guangfu
44 MF   CHN Zhang Yuhao
46 MF   CHN Zhang Jun
47 MF   CHN Yu Zhen
48 MF   CHN Xie Hui
49 MF   CHN Pang Chuntao
No. Pos. Nation Player
51 DF   CHN Rong Linchao
52 FW   CHN Han Guangxu
53 DF   CHN Luo Hongshi
54 MF   CHN Zhu Hui
55 GK   CHN Wang Kailong
56 MF   CHN Cheng Xianfeng
57 MF   CHN Bai Yaoxu
58 FW   CHN Aximu Aini
59 MF   CHN Yi Tianyu
62 MF   CHN Zhang Zimin

Unregistered playersEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF   CHN Yang Lei
17 FW   CHN Zhang Jiansheng
23 GK   CHN Li Xuebo
27 DF   CHN Yang Pengju
38 DF   CHN Kong Yinquan
GK   CHN Chen Junlin
MF   CHN Zhang Hui
GK   CHN Gao Tian
DF   CHN Zheng Jianfeng
No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   CHN Wang Liang
DF   CHN Yin Jiahao
MF   CHN Gao Mingxin
MF   CHN Li Yuqiu
MF   CHN Han Peijiang
MF   CHN Ren Jiawei
MF   CHN Yuan Hao
MF   CHN Liu Zhipeng

Coaching staffEdit

As of 16 May 2022.

First team
Head coach   Xie Hui
Assistant coach   Ng Wai Chiu
Assistant coach   Chang Lin
Goalkeeping coach   Everton S.
Fitness coach   Alex Ros Cladella
Tactical Analyst   Aitor Calero Garcia
Reserve and youth teams
Reserve (U-23) coach   David Rivas Martínez
U-21 coach   Liu Yujian[29]
U-21 assistant coach   Zhou Ting
U-19 coach   Sun Wei
U-17 coach   Zhang Yaokun
U-17 assistant coach   Zou Peng
U-17 assistant coach   Li Wenbo
U-15 coach   Zhao Peng
U-15 assistant coach   Chi Yaojun
U-14 coach   Li Yang
U-15 assistant coach   Zou Jie
U-13 coach   Wang Zhaochen

Managerial historyEdit

As of 16 April 2021[30][31]
Managers Period
  Chi Shangbin Jan 1, 2009 – Dec 31, 2010
  Sun Xianlu 2010
  Aleksandar Stankov June 2010 – Dec 11, 2011
  Chang Woe-ryong Jan 1, 2012 – Apr 3, 2012
  Aleksandar Stanojević Apr 4, 2012 – Nov 9, 2012
  Xu Hong Dec 11, 2012 – Feb 18, 2013
  Li Ming (interim) Feb 18, 2013 – June 5, 2013
  Simo Krunić June 3, 2013 – Dec 5, 2013
  Ma Lin Nov 5, 2013 – May 28, 2014
  Yasuharu Kurata May 30, 2014 – Dec 19, 2014
  Mikael Stahre Jan 5, 2015 – July 5, 2016
  Milinko Pantić July 5, 2016 – Aug 31, 2016
  Sergio Piernas Aug 31, 2016 – Nov 29, 2016
  Juan Ramón López Caro Nov 29, 2016 – Dec 26, 2017
  Ma Lin Dec 26, 2017 – Mar 20, 2018
  Bernd Schuster Mar 20, 2018 – Feb 11, 2019
  Choi Kang-hee Feb 11, 2019 – July 1, 2019
  Rafael Benítez July 1, 2019 – Jan 23, 2021
  José González Apr 16, 2021 – Dec 31, 2021
  Xie Hui Mar 19, 2022 – present



All-time League Rankings

As of the end of 2021 season[33][34]
Year Div Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Pos. FA Cup Super Cup AFC Att./G Stadium
2010 3 21 14 3 4 37 14 23 34 1 W NH NH DNQ Dalian University Stadium
2011 2 26 16 6 4 45 20 25 54 W R2 NH DNQ
2012 1 30 11 11 8 51 46 5 44 5 QF DNQ DNQ 15,774 Jinzhou Stadium
2013 1 30 11 8 11 40 43 −3 41 5 SF DNQ DNQ 10,538
2014 1 30 6 11 13 32 45 −13 29 15 R3 DNQ DNQ 10,993 Dalian Sports Centre Stadium
2015 2 30 17 7 6 46 22 24 58 3 R3 DNQ DNQ 15,233
2016 2 30 14 3 13 43 44 −1 45 5 R3 DNQ DNQ 10,806
2017 2 30 19 7 4 48 23 25 64 W R3 DNQ DNQ 20,596
2018 1 30 10 5 15 37 57 −20 35 11 SF DNQ DNQ 33,145
2019 1 30 10 8 12 44 51 −7 38 9 SF DNQ DNQ 32,853
2020 1 14 2 5 7 18 21 −3 112 12 R1 DNQ DNQ 3 3
2021 1 22 6 1 15 21 37 −16 19 15 QF DNQ DNQ 4 4
2022 1 Puwan Stadium
  • ^1 in group stage
  • ^2 in group stage.
  • ^3 the 2020 Chinese Super League was held behind closed doors most of the time, attendance and stadium not applicable.
  • ^4 the 2021 Chinese Super League was held behind closed doors most of the time, attendance and stadium not applicable.

Past and present internationalsEdit

Had international caps for their respective countries.


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External linksEdit