German's longtime layoff, temper worry fans, media
Chinese Super League (CSL) club -Dalian Yifang FC announced the signing of former Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster late Monday night.
The German replaced Ma Lin, who took the club over in the off-season and managed three games in which the CSL new boys racked up three defeats, conceding 13 goals without scoring.
Last month Dalian Wanda Group, owners of the almighty Dalian Wanda FC in the 1990s, bought a controlling stake in Yifang.
The squad was immediately strengthened by the signing of Atletico Madrid star duo Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan and West Ham United defender Jose Fonte. But now they are already -favorites for the drop, sitting dead last in the 16-team league.
Schuster, 58, was one of the world's best midfielders during his playing time. He started his professional career with FC Koln in 1978 at 18.
Two years later, he was signed by Barcelona and became a vital part of the team during his eight years there, scoring 63 goals in 170 appearances.
He won the La Liga title with Barca in 1985, and also won the Spanish King's Cup in 1981, 1983 and 1988.
He finished runner-up in the 1980 Ballon d'Or behind compatriot Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. He also finished third in 1981 and 1985.
In 1988, Schuster joined Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid in a controversial move and won the league title twice in his two years there before leaving for Atletico Madrid.
Three years later, he went back to -Germany in 1993 to join Bayer Leverkusen. He played another three years before a short spell with Mexico's Club Universidad Nacional, his final club.
Schuster had coached nine clubs before coming to Dalian. His most prominent accomplishment was steering Real Madrid to the La Liga title in his first season in 2007-08. He stepped down in December 2008 in his second season with the club. He had been without a job since being sacked by Spain's Malaga in May 2014.
Dalian did not reveal the details of his contract, but local media claimed it was an initial one-year contract, with an option to extend another two years if he could maintain the club's top-flight status next season. He will earn about 4.5 million euros (.5 million) a year.
Most Dalian fans were glad to see the back of former coach Ma.
"Ma is not a good enough coach at all," @dariyue posted on the club's official Weibo account.
"Hope the new coach could bring us new tactics and new hopes," @dahuilangerhao commented.
But not everyone was optimistic about Schuster.
"This is a really weak team," commented a fan named @lanis. "Simply buying some foreign players and hiring a foreign coach cannot solve all the problems."
The fact that Schuster had been without a job for nearly four years was a concern for many.
Schuster is known for his temper, including confrontations with team management and the media during his playing and coaching days.
"There's no need to question Schuster's coaching ability," wrote Dalian Daily reporter Ye Mingrui. "But I'm concerned about whether he can control his hot temper."
Due to the international break, Schuster will have more than 10 days to get to know the club and players before his first test comes at Henan Jianye on March 31.