Champion SIPG unveils jersey for 2019 CSL season

Ma Yue
SIPG players will wear new jerseys for the 2019 season, on which a star atop the emblem represents the CSL trophy the team won last year – its maiden championship triumph.
Ma Yue
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Champion SIPG unveils jersey for 2019 CSL season
Ti Gong

Shanghai SIPG players (from left) Cai Huikang, Wang Shenchao, Yan Junling, Oscar, Elkeson and Hulk pose during the Chinese Super League club’s commercial partnership signing ceremony in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Shanghai SIPG has unveiled its new team jersey for the 2019 season even as club officials talked about their future goals, including more involvement in youth development and charity.

The newly crowned Chinese Super League champions are just back from their winter training in Dubai. Manager Vitor Pereira, Brazilian trio Hulk, Oscar, and Elkeson as well as Chinese players Yan Junling, Wang Shenchao and Cai Huikang showed up in downtown Shanghai on Tuesday for a ceremony during which club officials signed a commercial partnership deal with SAIC Motor.

The players wore the new jerseys for the 2019 season, on which a star atop the emblem represents the CSL trophy they won last year, for the club's maiden championship triumph.

While its league opponents have been busy signing new players to get ready for the 2019 CSL season, which kicks off next month, SIPG has stayed quiet despite seeing its top scorer Wu Lei join La Liga side Espanyol at the end of last month.

Club officials insist that SIPG would look within for potential replacements of Wu, and continue to expand the club's influence, including its public image, in the new season.

"Wu's departure will have a big impact on us," Pereira said in a previous interview. "But I understand Wu and the club's decision, and we will try to make up for the loss."

Pereira said the team mainly worked on technique and tactics, as well as players' stamina during the 20-day winter training in the United Arab Emirates.

"Our requirement for the team in the new season is to play more games and win more matches on all fronts," club president Zhang Min said. "SIPG is a young club in the CSL. We will continue with youth team building and put more effort on burnishing the club's public image."

SIPG's U23 and U19 teams won the national U23 and U19 national leagues last year. Following SIPG's new commercial partnership deal with Shanghai-based SAIC Motor, the two sides said they plan to organize charity activities which will see SIPG players visit poverty-stricken areas in southwest China's Tibet autonomous region and bring the joy of football to children there.

"Our global brand MG is also the sponsor of English Premier League side Liverpool and Chile club Colocolo," said Wang Xiaoqiu, vice president of SAIC Motor. "Maybe we can organize friendly matches between SIPG and the other two teams at a suitable time."

The opening round of the CSL will feature the Shanghai derby which is to be staged at Greenland Shenhua's Hongkou Football Stadium on March 1.

But SIPG's first match of the new season will be a CFA Super Cup clash with Beijing Guo'an in Suzhou, neighboring Jiangsu Province, on Saturday. Guo'an won last year's CFA Cup.

Elsewhere, Dalian Yifang confirmed the signing of Slovak national team captain Marek Hamsik from Serie A side Napoli on Monday.

Former Chinese football powerhouse Dalian, which was struggling in the lower half of the standings last year, is aiming for a revival after the return of its major investor, the Wanda Group. Last week, the club announced South Korean Choi Kang-hee as its new manager, as well as the signing of five domestic players.

Other clubs making big moves during the winter transfer window include Guangzhou Evergrande, Shandong Luneng, Guangzhou R&F, and Shenhua.

Shandong swooped for Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini from Manchester United; R&F bought another Belgium midfielder Mousa Dembele from Tottenham Hotspur; Shenhua purchased Nigerian international striker Odion Ighalo, who was last year's CSL second highest scorer; and Evergrande introduced six domestic signings — all born between 1995 and 2000 — supposedly the most competitive players of their generation.

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