|Full name||Zheng Zhi|
|Date of birth||20 August 1980|
|Place of birth||Shenyang, Liaoning, China|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|2007||→ Charlton Athletic (loan)||12||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 October 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Starting his career as a defender, Zheng was moved into centre midfield by his manager at Shenzhen Jianlibao and experienced immediate success there by winning the 2004 league title with them. A move to Shandong Luneng 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.
Zheng Zhi started his football career in 1990 playing for various Liaoning youth teams before being promoted to the Liaoning Youth team in 1998 where he started out as a right back. Despite being the reserve team of Liaoning Whowin, the Liaoning Youth team were allowed to take part in the third tier of the Chinese league pyramid where they found it difficult within the league system and the club were involved in legal trouble that saw all their assets frozen, including player transfer rights. This saw Zheng spend a year without playing professional football and he was transferred to top tier club Shenzhen Jianlibao, who were coached by Zhu Guanghu, his former coach during his time with the Chinese under-23 national team. While he was initially deployed as a defender at first he successfully made the transition as a playmaker and aided Shenzhen to the 2004 league title for the first time in the club's history. After the title win, Zheng would play for the Chinese national team at the 2004 Asian Cup where the manager Arie Haan deployed him as a defender once again as China finished as runners-up within the tournament.
He joined Charlton Athletic on loan on 29 December 2006 until the end of the season with Charlton having an option to buy him. He was the first official signing of new manager Alan Pardew, though he had been on trial with the Addicks in November 2006 under previous manager Les Reed. He had scored 29 goals for Shandong Luneng as they won the national league title earlier in the year. Zheng made his Premier League debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford when he replaced the injured Amdy Faye. His first goal came on his first start against Newcastle United in March 2007.
He returned to his parent club, Shandong Luneng, at the end of the 2006–07 season under the terms of his loan deal. He played once more for Shandong in 2007, in a 6–1 defeat to Beijing Guoan, before he returned to England to join Charlton in a permanent deal in August 2007. He joined for a fee of £2 million and signed a two-year contract. In a March 2008 edition of British football magazine FourFourTwo, Zheng was voted the fifth best player in the Football League. He scored a total of seven league goals in the Championship season. However, because of the number of games he played for both Charlton and China, he was less effective in the second half of the season as a result of fatigue.
In the summer of 2008, Zheng was heavily linked with a transfer to West Bromwich Albion. Although Charlton were in negotiations with the West Brom up to the end of the transfer window, the transfer failed to materialise. On 8 July 2009, Zheng left Charlton after failing to agree a new contract with the London club following its relegation to third division League One.
On 1 September 2009, Zheng became the second Chinese player after Du Wei to sign for Celtic after penning a two-year contract. Manager Tony Mowbray affirmed his long held admiration for the player and expressed his delight in the signing. Zheng was unable to play in Celtic's Europa League group games after UEFA confirmed he was not registered in time.
He made his debut on 4 October 2009, in the Old Firm derby against Rangers. He was fouled in the box to give Celtic a penalty, scored by Aiden McGeady to make it 2–1 to Rangers. Zheng was substituted for Paddy McCourt after 70 minutes. Zheng scored his first Celtic goal in the Scottish Premier League match against Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle on 8 May 2010. Zheng scored the second goal in a 2–1 victory with a quick turn and hooked shot from 18 yards out into the top corner of the goal. On 1 July 2010, he was released by Celtic.
On 28 June 2010, Zheng return to China and signed for Chinese League One club Guangzhou Evergrande on a free transfer. He made his second tier debut against Hubei Greenery on 17 July 2010 and scored first goal for Guangzhou four days later in a 10–0 home win against Nanjing Yoyo. In the 2010 season, Zheng scored five goals in eleven appearances as Guangzhou finished first place in the second division and won promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.
After promotion to the Chinese Super League, Zheng took over as captain of the club as former team captain Li Zhihai transferred to Guangdong Sunray Cave. Zheng scored five times in twenty-five appearances during the 2011 season as Guangzhou won the league title for the first time in the club's history, giving Zheng his third first tier league title with three different clubs. In the 2012 season, Guangzhou won the 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 they became the first Chinese club to win the AFC Champions League. On 26 November 2013, Zheng was named the Asian Footballer of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation for his performances on the pitch for both club and country.
Zheng joined the Chinese under-23 national team as the only player from the third tier Chinese Yi League. Under Bobby Houghton for the Chinese national team, he mainly played right back in many matches. After Zhu Guanghu took over as the manager, he was shifted into the midfield and cemented his spot as a first choice midfielder. Zheng captained the under-23 national team that competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Under Gao Hongbo's management, Zheng became the captain of the senior national team.
- As of 18 October 2014
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Others||Total|
|China PR||League||FA Cup||CSL Cup||Asia||Others1||Total|
|2000||Liaoning Youth||China League Two|
|2001||Shenzhen Jianlibao||Chinese Jia-A League||23||3||3||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||26||3|
|2004||Chinese Super League||16||2||5||4||2||1||-||-||-||-||23||7|
|2005||Shandong Luneng||Chinese Super League||18||10||4||2||4||4||6||5||-||-||32||21|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2006–07||Charlton Athletic||Premier League||12||1||0||0||0||0||-||-||-||-||12||1|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2009–10||Celtic||Scottish Premier League||16||1||2||0||1||0||0||0||-||-||19||1|
|China PR||League||FA Cup||CSL Cup||Asia||Total|
|2010||Guangzhou Evergrande||China League One||11||5||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||11||5|
|2011||Chinese Super League||25||5||2||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||27||5|
- AFC Champions League: 2013
- Chinese Super League: 2011, 2012, 2013
- Chinese FA Cup: 2012
- Chinese FA Super Cup: 2012
- China League One: 2010
- AFC Asian Cup All-Star Team: 2004
- Asian Footballer of the Year: 2013
- AFC Champions League Dream Team: 2013
- Chinese Football Association Player of the Year: 2002, 2006
- Chinese Super League Team of the Year: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2012, 2013
- "郑智简介". sports.QQ.com. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- "Charlton 2–0 Newcastle". BBC. 18 March 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
- "Charlton snap up McLeod & Zheng". BBC Sport. 9 August 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
- "FourFourTwo 50 Best Football League Players". FourFourTwo. 2 March 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "China's soccer exports face uncertain future". Sina.com English. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "Baggies continue Zheng talks". Sky Sports. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
- "Midfielder Zheng leaves Charlton". BBC Sport. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "Celtic sign China captain Zheng Zhi". The Herald. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- "Zheng Zhi gets green light from SFA". Celtic F.C. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
- Zheng to miss european campaign. Sporting Life. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- "Rangers 2–1 Celtic". BBC Sport. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- Grahame, Ewing (9 May 2010). "Hearts 1 Celtic 2: match report". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Lennon has no answer for Zheng". SKY Sports. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Celtic release midfielders Zhi and Mizuno". BBC Sport. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- "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.
- China seeks 'gold' from World Cup. China Daily.com. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- AFC Player of the Year: Zheng Zhi. AFC. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Zheng and Dong head China soccer squad for Beijing. Reuters. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- Zheng Zhi player profile at celticfc.net
- Zheng Zhi player profile at cafc.co.uk
- Zheng Zhi career stats at Soccerbase
|China national football team captain
|Guangzhou F.C. captain
|China national football team captain
|China national football team captain