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Fan Zhiyi
Personal information
Full name Fan Zhiyi
Date of birth (1969-11-06) 6 November 1969 (age 54)
Place of birth Shanghai, China
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1987 Shanghai Shenhua
1988–1989 Chinese National B Team
1990–1992 Chinese Olympic Development Team
1992–1993 Shanghai Shenhua
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1998 Shanghai Shenhua 99 (31)
1998–2001 Crystal Palace 88 (4)
2001–2002 Dundee 14 (2)
2002 Shanghai COSCO Huili 12 (4)
2002–2003 Cardiff City 6 (0)
2003–2004 Buler Rangers 9 (1)
2004–2005 Shanghai Zobon 30 (6)
2005–2006 Buler Rangers 5 (0)
Total 263 (48)
National team
1992–2002 China 106 (17)
Teams managed
2003–2004 Buler Rangers (assistant)
2004–2005 Shanghai Zobon (assistant)
2005–2006 Buler Rangers (assistant)
2006–2007 Suzhou Trips (assistant)
2008–2009 Shanghai East Asia (assistant)
2010 Shanghai East Asia
2016– Shanghai Shenhua reserve
Men's football
Representing  China
Asian Games
Silver 1994 Hiroshima Football
Bronze 1998 Bangkok Football
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Fan Zhiyi (Chinese: 范志毅; pinyin: Fàn Zhìyì; born 6 November 1969) is a Chinese coach and former international footballer. He played as a defender for Shanghai Shenhua, Crystal Palace, Dundee, Shanghai COSCO Huili, Cardiff City, Buler Rangers and Shanghai Zobon.

He was considered a trailblazer in his native homeland when Sun Jihai and he became the first two Chinese footballers to play in the English leagues, joining Crystal Palace in 1998. Internationally, he would go on to play with the Chinese national team in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He has since gone on to become a football coach and had his first stint as manager at Shanghai East Asia.

Club career

Fan Zhiyi was considered a talented youngster and integrated into the Chinese National B Team which was allowed to take part in the Chinese football league system for a season. His time with them was extremely successful and he was even able to win the Chinese league title with the team in the 1989 league season before he had to return to Shanghai Shenhua. After returning to Shanghai and playing in his first season as a professional, Fan's best was brought out of him due to the improved level of play. His superb fitness and hardworking ethics as well as his excellent positional play as a central defender would see him become a regular within the team. By the 1995 league season, he had already gained a reputation as tough tackler who had superb aerial ability especially from set-piece plays, however he would also show his versatility as a player when he played in several positions including a provisional striker when he was the league's top goalscorer with fifteen goals as he guided Shanghai Shenhua towards the league title in the 1995 season. After several seasons he had now settled into central defense as a sweeper and would captain his side as they won Chinese FA Cup in 1998.

In the 1998–99 season, Fan made national headlines when he left Shanghai to join First Division side Crystal Palace where he and Sun Jihai became the first Chinese footballers in the English leagues. Fan soon established himself as an important player at Crystal Palace and was very popular with the fans and staff as well as winning the club many new fans back in China. He was also the captain of Crystal Palace for a while and scored several important goals for the club. As he played for Crystal Palace, Fan would also play in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup for the Chinese national team before personally winning Asian Footballer of the Year in 2001. After helping China qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in October 2001, Fan transferred to Scottish Premier League side Dundee for £350,000. He managed to score against Celtic in a 3–1 loss with a good long-distance shot after positioning himself well after he received a pass from Nacho Novo.

After returning from the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Fan decided not to return to Dundee and decided to return to China to join top-tier club Shanghai International for a brief period. He would soon return to the United Kingdom where he had a trial with Gillingham F.C., however Fan decided to join Second Division side Cardiff City in November 2002.

In October 2003, he signed a one-year contract to become player-coach of Hong Kong First Division League side Buler Rangers. However, his stay in Hong Kong lasted only a few months when, in early 2004, he moved back to Shanghai to become the captain of China League One side Zhuhai Zobon. He led the club to promotion to the Chinese Super League one year later and the club renamed to Shanghai Zobon after it moved to Shanghai. Fan left the club after the 2005 season and joined Buler Rangers for a second stint but after five games, he decided to end his playing career and retired.

International career

Fan was a key veteran of the Chinese national team that qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, their first time qualifying for the tournament. After returning from the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Fan announced his retirement from the national team after ten years where he was an anchor in the defense and was capped 106 times for his country.

Management career

Fan often stated that his desire was to move into management and had brief spells as an assistant coach with Buler Rangers and Shanghai Zobon while he was still playing. Once he retired from playing football, he became a technical director and assistant coach at China League Two side Suzhou Trips. Fan became manager of China League One side Shanghai East Asia in 2010, but he was sacked at the end of the 2010 season.

Career statistics

International goals

Results list China's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition
1 4 February 1996 Hong Kong  Hong Kong 2–0 1996 AFC Asian Cup qualifier
2 21 February 1997 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  Singapore 3–1 1997 Dunhill Cup Malaysia
3 28 February 1997 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  Zimbabwe 3–1 1997 Dunhill Cup Malaysia
4 28 February 1997 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  Zimbabwe 3–1 1997 Dunhill Cup Malaysia
5 20 April 1997 Beijing, China  Myanmar 5–0 Friendly international
6 25 May 1997 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam  Vietnam 3–1 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier
7 22 June 1997 Beijing, China  Vietnam 4–0 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier
8 13 September 1997 Dalian, China  Iran 2–4 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier
9 31 October 1997 Dalian, China  Qatar 2–3 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier
10 30 November 1998 Surat Thani, Thailand  Lebanon 4–1 1998 Asian Games
11 14 December 1998 Bangkok, Thailand  Turkmenistan 3–0 1998 Asian Games
12 19 December 1998 Bangkok, Thailand  Thailand 3–0 1998 Asian Games
13 13 October 2000 Tripoli, Lebanon  South Korea 2–2 2000 AFC Asian Cup
14 22 April 2001 Xi'an, China  Maldives 10–1 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier
15 22 April 2001 Xi'an, China  Maldives 10–1 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier
16 31 August 2001 Muscat, Oman  Oman 2–0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier
17 15 September 2001 Shenyang, China  Uzbekistan 2–0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier



China B

  • Chinese Jia-A League: 1989

Shanghai Shenhua

  • Chinese Jia-A League: 1995
  • Chinese FA Cup: 1998


  • Asian Footballer of the Year: 2001
  • Chinese Football Association Player of the Year: 1995, 1996, 2001
  • Chinese Jia-A League Team of the Year: 1995, 1996, 1997
  • Chinese Jia-A League Top goalscorer: 1995
  • Crystal Palace Player of the Year: 2001


Variety shows

Year Name Notes
2016 Running Man episode – 283


Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2021 Never Stop 超越 Himself

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Fan Zhiyi para niños

  • List of men's footballers with 100 or more international caps
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