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Fabio Cannavaro resigns as Tianjin Quanjian boss, Paulo Sousa appointed

Fabio Cannavaro has quit as head coach of Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian, paving the way for a possible return to seven-time champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

Tianjin announced on Monday that Cannavaro's resignation had been accepted by the club and that former Sampdoria and Queens Park Rangers head coach Paulo Sousa had been appointed as his replacement.

"After a request was submitted by Fabio Cannavaro and following discussions between both parties, Tianjin Quanjian have agreed Mr Cannavaro will not continue to be the head coach of the club," Tianjin said in a statement.

"Since his appointment in 2016, Mr Cannavaro has completed his job as the head coach with great success and has accomplished the club's targets for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

"We sincerely thank Mr Cannavaro and his team for their contribution and bright future in his career and life."

Fabio Cannavaro spent two seasons in charge of Tianjin Quanjian.

Cannavaro led Tianjin to third place in their first season in the Chinese Super League after winning the China League One title at the end of his first campaign in charge in 2016.

The 44-year-old had previously been in charge at Guangzhou, replacing Marcello Lippi at the end of 2014, but was fired seven months later and replaced by Luiz Felipe Scolari.

While Scolari embarked on a run that saw him claim three Chinese Super League titles, the AFC Champions League and the Chinese FA Cup, Cannavaro decamped to Saudi Arabia, where he worked with Al Nassr before returning to China as Tianjin head coach.

Cannavaro impressed during his two campaigns at Tianjin, winning the China League One title before capturing third place in the Chinese Super League and a berth in next year's AFC Champions League on the final day of the season.

That has led to continued speculation that Cannavaro would return to Guangzhou to replace Scolari, while Sousa is left with the task of building on the success of the former Italy international next season.

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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