Fan Zhiyi (Chinese: 范志毅; pinyin: Fàn Zhìyì; born 6 November 1969) is a Chinese coach and former international footballer. He played as a defender for Shanghai Shenhua, Crystal Palace, Dundee, Shanghai International, Cardiff City, Buler Rangers and Shanghai Zobon.
|Full name||Fan Zhiyi|
|Date of birth||6 November 1969|
|Place of birth||Shanghai, China|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|1988–1989||Chinese National B Team|
|1990–1992||Chinese Olympic Development Team|
|2003–2004||Buler Rangers (assistant)|
|2004–2005||Shanghai Zobon (assistant)|
|2005–2006||Buler Rangers (assistant)|
|2006–2007||Suzhou Trips (assistant)|
|2008–2009||Shanghai East Asia (assistant)|
|2010||Shanghai East Asia|
|2016–||Shanghai Shenhua reserve|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He was considered a trailblazer in his native homeland when Sun Jihai and he became the first two Chinese footballers to play in the English leagues, joining Crystal Palace in 1998. Internationally, he would go on to play with the Chinese national team in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He has since gone on to become a football coach and had his first stint as manager at Shanghai East Asia.
Fan Zhiyi was considered a talented youngster and integrated into the Chinese National B Team which was allowed to take part in the Chinese football league system for a season. His time with them was extremely successful and he was even able to win the Chinese league title with the team in the 1989 league season before he had to return to Shanghai Shenhua. After returning to Shanghai and playing in his first season as a professional, Fan's best was brought out of him due to the improved level of play. His superb fitness and hardworking ethics as well as his excellent positional play as a central defender would see him become a regular within the team. By the 1995 league season, he had already gained a reputation as tough tackler who had superb aerial ability especially from set-piece plays, however he would also show his versatility as a player when he played in several positions including a provisional striker when he was the league's top goalscorer with fifteen goals as he guided Shanghai Shenhua towards the league title in the 1995 season. After several seasons he had now settled into central defense as a sweeper and would captain his side as they won Chinese FA Cup in 1998.
In the 1998–99 season, Fan made national headlines when he left Shanghai to join First Division side Crystal Palace where he and Sun Jihai became the first Chinese footballers in the English leagues. Fan soon established himself as an important player at Crystal Palace and was very popular with the fans and staff as well as winning the club many new fans back in China. He was also the captain of Crystal Palace for a while and scored several important goals for the club. As he played for Crystal Palace, Fan would also play in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup for the Chinese national team before personally winning Asian Footballer of the Year in 2001. After helping China qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in October 2001, Fan transferred to Scottish Premier League side Dundee for £350,000. He managed to score against Celtic in a 3–1 loss with a good long-distance shot after positioning himself well after he received a pass from Nacho Novo.
After returning from the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Fan decided not to return to Dundee and decided to return to China to join top-tier club Shanghai International for a brief period. He would soon return to the United Kingdom where he had a trial with Gillingham F.C., however Fan decided to join Second Division side Cardiff City in November 2002.
In October 2003, he signed a one-year contract to become player-coach of Hong Kong First Division League side Buler Rangers. However, his stay in Hong Kong lasted only a few months when, in early 2004, he moved back to Shanghai to become the captain of China League One side Zhuhai Zhongbang. He led the club to promotion to the Chinese Super League one year later and the club renamed to Shanghai Zobon after it moved to Shanghai. Fan left the club after the 2005 season and joined Buler Rangers for a second stint but after five games, he decided to end his playing career and retired.
Fan was a key veteran of the Chinese national team that qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, their first time qualifying for the tournament. After returning from the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Fan announced his retirement from the national team after ten years where he was an anchor in the defense and was capped 106 times for his country.
Fan often stated that his desire was to move into management and had brief spells as an assistant coach with Buler Rangers and Shanghai Zobon while he was still playing. Once he retired from playing football, he became a technical director and assistant coach at China League Two side Suzhou Trips. Fan became manager of China League One side Shanghai East Asia in 2010, but he was sacked at the end of the 2010 season.
- Results list China's goal tally first.
- Chinese Jia-A League: 1989
|2016||Running Man||episode - 283|
- China 1989 at rsssf.com 22 October 2009 Retrieved 23 July 2012
- 1994：中国足球拉开竞技体育职业化大幕 at news.QQ.com 17 January 2009 Retrieved 23 July 2012
- 范志毅 Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine at Sodasoccer.com Retrieved 23 July 2012
- China 1998 – FA Cup at rsssf.com 6 December 1999 Retrieved 23 July 2012
- Appearances for Crystal Palace at neilbrown.newcastlefans.com Retrieved 23 July 2012
- FYP Top 50 Players Countdown: No.38 – Fan Zhiyi Archived 7 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine at fiveyearplanfanzine.co.uk 30 June 2012 Retrieved 23 July 2012
- "Fan Zhiyi Named Asian Player of the Year". People's Daily. 18 May 2002. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- Fan deserts Dundee at news.bbc.co.uk 5 September 2002 Retrieved 23 July 2012
- Cardiff sign Chinese Star at news.bbc.co.uk 12 November 2002 Retrieved 23 July 2012
- Fan Zhiyi – Century of International Appearances at rsssf.com 10 June 2011 Retrieved 23 July 2012
- "Fan, Zhiyi". National-football-teams.com. 29 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "Asian Player of the Year". Rsssf.com. 31 January 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "1995年全国足球甲级队(A组)联赛". Zuqiuziliao.cn. 9 May 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "1996年全国足球甲级队(A组)联赛". Zuqiuziliao.cn. 14 July 2011. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "2001年全国足球甲级队(A组)联赛". Zuqiuziliao.cn. 9 May 2010. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "1997年全国足球甲级队(A组)联赛". Zuqiuziliao.cn. 14 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
| China national football team captain