Li Yi (footballer)

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Li Yi
Personal information
Date of birth (1979-06-20) June 20, 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth Bengbu, Anhui, China
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0.4 in)
Playing position Striker (Former)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–1998 Tianjin Locomotive
1999 Beijing Guoan (Loan) 18 (4)
2000–2006 Shenzhen Kingway 153 (52)
2007–2010 Shaanxi Chanba 57 (4)
National team
2001–2006 China 30 (2)
Teams managed
2011–2013 Shenzhen Ruby (Assistant Coach)
2014–2015 Shenzhen Ruby
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of December 1, 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of February 7, 2010

Li Yi (Chinese: 李毅), born June 20, 1979, is a Chinese soccer manager and former player.

Club career[edit]

Li Yi rose to prominence with Shenzhen Pingan at the end of the 2000 football season after scoring 9 goals from 21 appearances.[1] During his time at Shenzhen he experienced significant success winning the Chinese Super League in 2004 as well as playing a significant role in the Shenzen team that reached the semi-finals of the 2005 AFC Champions League by scoring two critical goals in-game and the third goal in over time, for a 3–1 win against Al-Ahli (Jeddah) of Saudi Arabia and being their top goalscorer with 5 goals.[2] Within the tournament unconfirmed comments on the internet about Li claiming his ball shielding is similar and comparable to FIFA World Cup winner Thierry Henry, made him a target for much criticism from home fans. Viewing his off-field comments as pretentious he earned a nickname Imperator Li Yi the Great, and eventually became an Internet meme among Chinese netizens. In fact, Li never said such words. He did mention Thierry Henry after a 2005 AFC Champions League group stage match which Shenzhen beat Suwon Samsung Bluewings 1–0 at home. He said that he shielded the ball in the corner flag area in the injury time to ensure the victory, just like Thierry Henry did.[3] The medium misrepresented his comments because they believed that saying Li's ball shielding was comparable to Thierry Henry can be more attracting.

The 2005 season would be a turbulent time for Shenzhen as their influential manager Zhu Guanghu was appointed the new manager of the China national football team and left Shenzen. His successor Chi Shangbin would not wield the same respect and significant infighting occurred from senior influential players which included Li Weifeng, Yang Chen and Li Leilei, which coupled with the club's financial difficulties saw a mass exit.[4] Li Yi would eventually follow these players by transferring to fellow top tier club Shaanxi Chanba at the beginning of the 2007 season. He would remain there until the 2010 league season before he decided to retire at the end of the season.

International career[edit]

International debut[edit]

Li Yi started his senior international career in 1999 and was called up by the Chinese manager Bob Houghton after some impressive displays for Beijing Guoan, however he did not make his debut under him. Li did not make his debut until after his impressive displays for Shenzhen in 2001 and the new Chinese manager Bora Milutinović called him up for a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC First Round game against Cambodia on 6 May 2001, where he came on as a substitute for Li Jinyu in a 4–0 victory.[5] After the game Li was tried out in several further games, however he could not gain a permanent place within the squad as Milutinović stuck with established players such as Hao Haidong as China went to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. When the World Cup ended Milutinović left and Arie Haan came in as the Chinese manager, which saw Li go on to establish himself as a regular under his reign.

2003 East Asian Cup[edit]

The 2003 East Asian Football Championship game against China and Korea Republic football team opened in the face of heated political bitterness on both sides as Korea and China were bitterly embroiled over geographical claims over Goguryeo. With China having participated in the 2002 FIFA World Cup for the first time expectations for China had risen that they could end their losing streak against Korea Republic, a phenomenon termed "Koreaphobia" in China. Meanwhile the Korean team was embittered over a previous meeting in 1998, which saw Hwang Sun-Hong severely injured, preventing him from playing in the 1998 World Cup in France.[6][7] With the game played in a passionate manner tensions reached its peak when Li Yi appeared to have kicked Lee Eul-Yong's right shin. this saw Lee react by slapping Li on the back of his head, after which Li rolled onto the ground grabbing his head. This resulted in the referee awarding a yellow card for Li for exaggeration and red card for Lee for violent conduct.[8] After the match Korean websites, especially DC Inside known for high-level digital image editing and digital photography, began to photoshop and produce numerous parodies to ridicule the incident.

2004 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

Li Yi was called into the national team that played in 2004 AFC Asian Cup which China were hosting and eventually finished runners up in. During this tournament Li Yi would scored his second goal against Indonesia in a 5–0 win in the group stages.[9] He played in the final as substitute for Hao Haidong, however China still lost the game 3–1 to Japan.[10] After the 2004 AFC Asian Cup Li Yi found it increasingly more difficult to be named within the national team. Despite being named for several other friendlies Li Yi could not score within any games.[11] Li Yi was completely dropped from the squad for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup and has since not played for the national team.


Shenzhen Pingan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Li Yi at Retrieved 2013-12-03
  2. ^ "Champions' League 2005". 2006-03-19. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  3. ^ "李毅谈网络话题:与亨利护球没法比 不识芙蓉姐姐" (in Chinese). 2005-07-06. Retrieved 2015-02-20. 
  4. ^ "Shenzhen has given in to "ruffian" players". 2005-05-19. Retrieved 2015-02-20. 
  5. ^ 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan ™ Preliminaries at 06 May 2001 Retrieved 2013-12-03
  6. ^ 이동국, '제2의 황선홍'이 되어줬으면…
  7. ^ 자라 보고 놀란 가슴 소댕 보고 놀란다
  8. ^ µð½ÃÀλçÀ̵å ÄÁÅÙÃ÷
  9. ^ Asian Cup 2004 China » Gruppe A » China – Indonesien 5:0 at 2004-July-21 Retrieved 2013-12-03
  10. ^ Asian Cup 2004 China » Finale » China – Japan 1:3 at 2004-August-07 Retrieved 2013-12-03
  11. ^ China names squad for soccer friendly at 2005-05-27 Retrieved 2013-12-03

External links[edit]