Chinese Super League hits and misses, featuring Hulk, Ramires, Pellegrini and Scolari
By Martin Laurence, WhoScored.com
Last Updated: 27/10/16 12:58pm
How have the Chinese Super League's star names got on this season?
With just one round of fixtures remaining there's still plenty to play for in the CSL. While Guangzhou Evergrande have retained the title for the sixth successive season, there's still one place up for grabs in the AFC Champions League - with two Shanghai rivals fighting for third - and one spot still to be decided in the relegation zone, where as many as five teams could face the drop.
It's been an entertaining season for a league that continues to grow in popularity in China and across the world.
In recent years we've witnessed some big names make the move East, both in terms of players and coaches, and here WhoScored.com assess how those stars have got on…
Paulinho - WhoScored.com rating for 2016 season: 7.47
While it's fair to say that Brazil international Paulinho flattered to deceive during his short time at Tottenham, the 28-year old has put in the sort of performances Spurs fans had hoped for since a move to champions Guangzhou Evergrande. With seven goals from a deep-lying position in midfield and average figures of 2.9 shots, 2.6 tackles and 58.1 passes per game all ranking among the top 10 players in each statistic, Paulinho's rating is enough to rank second in the CSL.
Alex Teixeira - WhoScored.com rating for 2016 season: 7.38
Former Shakhtar flyer Teixeira seemed set for a move to Liverpool but instead made a shock move to Jiangsu Suning and has since become a key player for this season's runners-up. He leads the side for both goals (11) and assists (eight), with both figures ranking in the league's top 10, while he's placed fourth in the CSL for both key passes (2.2) and dribbles (1.9) per game.
Demba Ba - WhoScored.com rating for 2016 season: 7.32
Before suffering what was an horrific leg break playing for Shanghai Shenhua in July, Demba Ba was well on course to be the CSL's top scorer. Indeed, despite missing over three months of the season, the former Chelsea striker's tally of 14 goals from just 18 appearances still ranks equal second in the league. With a further three assists and an average of 3.3 shots per game - the most of all players to play at least 15 times - the 31-year old's absence has coincided with his club dropping just outside of the top three and needing a slip up from their local rivals on the final day.
Hulk - WhoScored.com rating for 2016 season: 7.45
While it's early to judge Hulk's impact in China since a move to Shanghai SIPG at the end of June, given he spent two months out through injury, the Brazilian's return has been a huge boost to Sven-Goran Eriksson's side. With five goals in his six Super League appearances, Hulk has helped put his side in the driving seat for the third and final AFC Champions League spot with one game to go, averaging 4.2 shots and 3.2 dribbles per game - ranking second and first of all players in the league.
Luiz Felipe Scolari
Having ensured Guangzhau Evergrande successfully retained their CSL title, it's fair to say 'Big Phil' Scolari has had a positive impact since replacing Fabio Cannavaro in June of last year. Hoping to emulate the success of Marcelo Lippi at the club, who was recently appointed as manager of the China national side, the former Brazil boss already has four titles to his name, including the AFC Champions League in his first season, and will be gunning for a fifth in the Chinese FA Cup next month.
Ramires - WhoScored.com rating for 2016 season: 6.84
Former Chelsea man Ramires became renowned for his all-action displays in the Blues midfield but it's fair to say he hasn't really lived up to his hefty price tag since a move to Jiangsu Suning. In 25 appearances the Brazilian has modest tallies of four goals and two assists but isn't displaying anywhere near the sort of tenacity he did in England, averaging just one tackle per game. That's considerably lower than in any campaign at Stamford Bridge and his rating of just 6.84 is his worst by a distance when making at least 20 appearances in a season.
Gervinho - WhoScored.com rating for 2016 season: 6.70
Gervinho had an unconvincing spell at Arsenal and has been unable to reach the standards he hit at Roma with Hebei China Fortune. In 18 league appearances, the Ivory Coast international has registered just three goals. He has come up with five assists but an average of 1.7 dribbles per game is down on what you'd expect from the winger - it is his lowest average since his time in London. A rating of just 6.70 is his worst since WhoScored.com ratings began and outside of the top 100 in China.
Papiss Cisse - WhoScored.com rating for 2016 season: 6.60
Five goals from 12 appearances since a move to Shandong Luneng from Newcastle may seem a decent enough return, particularly given half of those outings have been from the bench, but despite picking up his form in recent weeks Cisse hasn't had a great impact in China. The fact that he struggled to force his way into the side is evidence of that, while averages of just 0.5 key passes and 0.3 dribbles per game indicate that the striker isn't offering a great deal in general play.
Cisse's manager at Shandong Luneng, Magath has also failed to really convince since arriving at the club earlier this season. Despite an upturn in results since his appointment, the former Bayern Munich and Fulham boss has led the club to a modest 25 points in his 18 games in charge, which means his club are embroiled in the relegation drama on the final day, despite being best placed to avoid the drop at present.
As with Hulk, it's difficult to comment too much on just six games of football, but that is what former Manchester City boss Pellegrini has had in charge of Hebei China Fortune, with very little success thus far. Indeed, with just one win and five points on the board under the Chilean, the club have the third-worst record in the league in that time. Given they were just five points off a spot in the top three and a potential place in the AFC Champions League upon Pellegrini's appointment, they surrendered any chance of achieving as much with just one point from the first 12 available under the new boss.