Zheng Zhi (Chinese: 郑智; pinyin: Zhèng Zhì; born 20 August 1980) is a Chinese professional footballer and manager who played most of his career for Chinese Super League club Guangzhou F.C., becoming their captain and serving also as their caretaker manager in two stints. After starting his career as a defender, Zheng was later moved into a central midfield role by then head coach Zhu Guanghu at Shenzhen Jianlibao and experienced immediate success there by winning the 2004 league title with the club. A move to Shandong Luneng Taishan saw a prolific goal scoring period in his career and he soon became the captain of the Chinese national team, which then led to moves to Charlton Athletic and Celtic. He moved back to China in 2010 and joined Guangzhou Evergrande, making over 300 appearances so far as captain while helping the club win all major trophies a Chinese club could compete for, including Chinese Super League for a record 8 times and AFC Champions League twice.

Zheng Zhi
郑智
China PR & Iran pre-match conference 10.jpg
Zheng with China at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup
Personal information
Full name Zheng Zhi
Date of birth (1980-08-20) 20 August 1980 (age 41)
Place of birth Shenyang, Liaoning, China
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Guangzhou F.C.
Number 10
Youth career
1990–2000 Liaoning F.C.
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2000 Liaoning Liaoqing 4 (0)
2001–2004 Shenzhen Jianlibao 82 (13)
2005–2007 Shandong Luneng Taishan 45 (31)
2007Charlton Athletic (loan) 12 (1)
2007–2009 Charlton Athletic 55 (8)
2009–2010 Celtic 16 (1)
2010– Guangzhou 215 (15)
National team
2002–2019 China 108 (15)
Teams managed
2019 Guangzhou Evergrande (caretaker)
2021 Guangzhou (caretaker)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 26 December 2020
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 1 December 2019
Zheng Zhi
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Zheng Zhi started his football career in 1990 playing for various Liaoning youth academies before playing for Liaoning Liaoqing in 1998 in the China League Two, starting out playing as a defender.[1] In 2000, Liaoning Youth were involved in a legal battle between Yixing Industrial Co., Ltd. and Liaoning Sports School for the ownership of the club that saw all their assets frozen, including player transfer rights. This saw Zheng spend a year without playing professional football. In 2001, he was loaned to top-tier club Shenzhen Jianlibao who were coached by then manager Zhu Guanghu, his former manager during his time with the Chinese under-23 national team. He transferred to the club in November 2001 for a fee of ¥3.5 million.[2] While he was initially deployed as a defender, he shifted into a more of a playmaker role and aided Shenzhen to the top tier title for the first time in the club's history. In January 2005, Zheng transferred to fellow Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng Taishan for a transfer fee of ¥9.5 million.[3]

Charlton AthleticEdit

On 29 December 2006, Zheng was loaned out to Premier League side Charlton Athletic until the end of the season with an option to buy. He had been on trial with the club in November 2006. He made his debut for the club on 10 February 2007 in a 2–0 loss against Manchester United, coming on as a substitute for Amdy Faye. He scored his first goal on 18 March 2007 in a 2–0 win against Newcastle United.[4]

Zheng returned to Shandong Luneng Taishan at the end of the 2006–07 season under the terms of his loan deal. He played once more for the club in a 6–1 loss against Beijing Guoan before he returned to Charlton on a permanent deal in August 2007. He joined for a fee of £2 million and signed a two-year contract with the club.[5] He scored a total of seven league goals in the 2007–08 season; however, he was less effective in the second half of the season as a result of fatigue.[6]

In the summer of 2008, Zheng was heavily linked with a transfer to West Bromwich Albion. Although Charlton were in negotiations with the club up to the end of the transfer window, the transfer failed to materialise.[7] On 8 July 2009, Zheng left Charlton after failing to agree a new contract with the club following its relegation to League One.[8]

CelticEdit

On 1 September 2009, Zheng transferred to Scottish Premier League side Celtic, signing a two-year contract and becoming the second Chinese footballer to sign for the club after Du Wei.[9] Then manager Tony Mowbray affirmed his long held admiration for Zheng and expressed his delight at the signing.[10] Zheng was unable to play for the club in the group stage of the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League after UEFA confirmed that he was not registered in time.[11] He made his debut for the club on 4 October 2009 in a 2–1 loss against Rangers, winning a penalty.[12] He scored his first goal for the club on 8 May 2010 in a 2–1 win against Heart of Midlothian.[13][14] He was released by the club at the end of the 2009–10 season after failing to agree to a new contract.[15]

Guangzhou EvergrandeEdit

 
Zheng playing for Guangzhou Evergrande in 2010.

On 28 June 2010, Zheng joined China League One side Guangzhou Evergrande on a free transfer.[16] He made his debut for the club on 17 July 2010 in a 1–1 draw against Hubei Luyin. He scored first goal for the club 21 July 2010 in a 10–0 win against Nanjing Yoyo. In the 2010 season, Zheng scored five goals in 11 appearances as Guangzhou finished first place in the second division and won promotion back to the top tier.

After promotion to the Chinese Super League, Zheng took over as captain of the club as former captain Li Zhihai transferred to Guangdong Sunray Cave. Zheng scored five times in 25 appearances during the 2011 season as Guangzhou won the top tier title for the first time in the club's history, giving Zheng his third league title with three clubs. In the 2012 season, the club won the domestic double by winning the league title and the Chinese FA Cup; and in the 2013 season, won a third consecutive league title. In November 2013, Zheng captained Guangzhou to victory in the 2013 AFC Champions League Final as the club became the first Chinese club ever to win the AFC Champions League, and Zheng Zhi played the full game of the final,lifting the silverware as the captain.[17] On 26 November 2013, Zheng was named the Asian Footballer of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation, becoming the second Chinese footballer to win the award after Fan Zhiyi in 2001.[18]

On 27 October 2019, Zheng became the caretaker of the club when manager Fabio Cannavaro was temporarily relieved of his position and sent to corporate culture training until 3 November 2019.[19][20]

On 5 December 2020, upon the club's elimination from the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage, Zheng was appointed General Manager of the club.[21]

International careerEdit

Zheng joined the Chinese under-23 national team as the only player called up from the third tier. He made his debut for the Chinese national team on 7 December 2002 in a 3–1 win against Syria.[22] He scored his first international goal on 29 January 2004 in a 1–0 win against Macedonia.[23] After Zhu Guanghu took over as the manager in 2005, he was shifted into centre midfield and cemented his spot as the national team's first choice midfielder. Zheng captained the under-23 national team that competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[24] Under Gao Hongbo's management, Zheng was appointed captain of the national team. In an interview on 3 August 2016, Zheng said, "This is the last time I will be in the final stage of FIFA World Cup qualification," indicating that after the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he would retire from the national team.[25] On 2 June 2018, Zheng won his 100th cap for China in a 2–0 win against Thailand, making him the fourth Chinese footballer to win 100 caps.[26]

Career statisticsEdit

Club statisticsEdit

Statistics accurate as of match played 8 November 2020.[27]

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Liaoning Liaoqing 1998 China League Two
1999 4 0 4 0
2000 0 0 0 0
Total 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Shenzhen Jianlibao 2001 Chinese Jia-A League 23 2 3 0 26 2
2002 27 6 2 0 29 6
2003 16 3 3 0 19 3
2004 Chinese Super League 16 2 4 4 2 1 22 7
Total 82 13 12 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 96 18
Shandong Luneng Taishan 2005 Chinese Super League 18 10 4 2 4 4 6 5 32 21
2006 26 21 6 1 32 22
2007 1 0 3[a] 2 4 2
Total 45 31 10 3 4 4 6 5 3 2 68 45
Charlton Athletic (loan) 2006–07 Premier League 12 1 0 0 0 0 12 1
Charlton Athletic 2007–08 Championship 42 7 2 1 1 1 45 9
2008–09 13 1 0 0 0 0 13 1
Total 67 9 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 70 11
Celtic 2009–10 Scottish Premier League 16 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 19 1
Guangzhou Evergrande 2010 China League One 11 5 11 5
2011 Chinese Super League 25 5 2 0 27 5
2012 24 1 3 1 9 0 0[b] 0 36 2
2013 24 2 4 0 14 1 4[c] 0 46 3
2014 20 0 0 0 8 0 0[b] 0 28 0
2015 22 1 0 0 13 1 4[c] 0 39 2
2016 26 1 8 0 5 0 1[b] 0 40 1
2017 17 0 1 1 10 0 1[b] 0 29 1
2018 17 0 0 0 4 0 0[b] 0 21 0
2019 16 0 1 0 8 0 25 0
2020 13 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
Total 215 15 19 2 0 0 71 2 10 0 317 19
Career total 431 69 45 10 8 6 77 7 13 2 574 94
  1. ^ Appearances in A3 Champions Cup
  2. ^ a b c d e Appearances in Chinese FA Super Cup
  3. ^ a b One appearance in Chinese FA Super Cup, three appearances in FIFA Club World Cup

International statisticsEdit

As of 14 November 2019
China
Year Apps Goals
2002 3 0
2003 4 0
2004 21 9
2005 3 1
2006 5 1
2007 3 0
2008 6 1
2009 4 0
2010 0 0
2011 10 1
2012 5 0
2013 11 0
2014 5 2
2015 12 0
2016 2 0
2017 4 0
2018 6 0
2019 4 0
Total 108 15

International goalsEdit

As of 14 November 2014
Scores and results list China's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 29 January 2004 Suzhou Sports Center, Suzhou, China   North Macedonia 1–0 1–0 Friendly
2 7 February 2004 Shenzhen Stadium, Shenzhen, China   Finland 2–1 2–1 Friendly
3 17 March 2004 Huangpu Sports Center, Guangzhou, China   Myanmar 1–0 2–0 Friendly
4 1 June 2004 TEDA Football Stadium, Tianjin, China   Hungary 2–1 2–1 Friendly
5 10 July 2004 Hohhot People's Stadium, Hohhot, China   United Arab Emirates 1–2 2–2 Friendly
6 2–2
7 17 July 2004 Workers Stadium, Beijing, China   Bahrain 1–1 2–2 2004 AFC Asian Cup
8 30 July 2004 Workers Stadium, Beijing, China   Iraq 2–0 3–0 2004 AFC Asian Cup
9 3–0
10 22 June 2005 Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou, China   Costa Rica 1–0 2–0 Friendly
11 7 June 2006 Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne, France   France 1–1 1–3 Friendly
12 6 February 2008 Al-Rashid Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates   Iraq 1–1 1–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier
13 2 September 2011 Tuodong Stadium, Kunming, China   Singapore 1–1 2–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier
14 14 October 2014 Helong Stadium, Changsha, China   Paraguay 1–0 2–1 Friendly
15 14 November 2014 Jiangxi Olympic Sports Center, Nanchang, China   New Zealand 1–0 1–1 Friendly

HonoursEdit

ClubEdit

Shenzhen Jianlibao

Shandong Luneng Taishan

Guangzhou Evergrande

IndividualEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "郑智简介". sports.QQ.com. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  2. ^ "足协"成人之美" 深圳队350万"买断"郑智". Sina.com. 29 November 2001. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  3. ^ "一笔划算的买卖--郑智转会鲁能泰山幕后故事". Sina.com. 9 January 2005. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Charlton 2–0 Newcastle". BBC. 18 March 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Charlton snap up McLeod & Zheng". BBC Sport. 9 August 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
  6. ^ "China's soccer exports face uncertain future". Sina.com English. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  7. ^ "Baggies continue Zheng talks". Sky Sports. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Midfielder Zheng leaves Charlton". BBC Sport. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  9. ^ "Celtic sign China captain Zheng Zhi". The Herald. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Zheng Zhi gets green light from SFA". Celtic F.C. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  11. ^ Zheng to miss european campaign. Sporting Life. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Rangers 2–1 Celtic". BBC Sport. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  13. ^ Grahame, Ewing (9 May 2010). "Hearts 1 Celtic 2: match report". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Lennon has no answer for Zheng". SKY Sports. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  15. ^ "Celtic release midfielders Zhi and Mizuno". BBC Sport. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  16. ^ "郑智穿28号战袍 不当只有虚名的英超球员". ESPN Star Sports. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  17. ^ "Official Home of Asian Football – Guangzhou win 2013 AFC Champions League". 9 November 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  18. ^ AFC Player of the Year: Zheng Zhi Archived 29 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. AFC. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Chinese Super League: Guangzhou Evegrande's Fabio Cannavaro sent for corporate training as leaders drop points, Zheng Zhi takes over". South China Morning Post. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Cannavaro returns to Evergrande after handing self-reflection report to investor". Xinhua News Agency. 3 November 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  21. ^ 公告 (in Chinese). 广州恒大淘宝足球俱乐部. 5 December 2020.
  22. ^ "世界杯后首次亮相 四国赛中国首战3–1胜叙利亚". Sohu. 8 December 2002. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  23. ^ "国足1比0险胜马其顿 郑智进球穿越马其顿防线". Sina. 30 January 2004. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  24. ^ Zheng and Dong head China soccer squad for Beijing. Reuters. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  25. ^ "郑智:希望国足再进世界杯 对韩国打有准备之战". sports.sina.com.cn. 3 August 2016.
  26. ^ "5656天郑智终迎迟来的百场 换回的不止是一份荣誉". Sina. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  27. ^ "郑智". sodasoccer (in Chinese). Archived 2018-07-18 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ a b c d "Zheng, Zhi". National-football-teams.com. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  29. ^ "中甲最新积分榜:恒大稳胜摘联赛桂冠 南京有有降级". sports.sina.com.cn. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  30. ^ "足协杯-张琳芃传射8024两球 恒大总分5–3贵州夺冠". Sports.sina.com.cn. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  31. ^ 足协杯-黄博文世界波救主 恒大总分3–3苏宁夺冠 (in Chinese). Sports.sina.com.cn. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2019.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by China national football team captain
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by Guangzhou Evergrande captain
2011–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by China national football team captain
2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by China national football team captain
2012–2015
Succeeded by