How China Make Football Become Serious Tantalize Business

How China Make Football Become Serious Tantalize Business
China Super League players illustrated
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BEIJING - Booming wealth in China coupled with president Xi Jinping's love of the beautiful game, means money is being pumped into the country's Super League like never before. According to FIFA, China - a country of 1.3billion people - has just over 25,000 football players.

Veteran stars seeking an easy payday at the end of their careers is nothing new, of course. America was a lucrative stop-off for the likes of Pele, Beckenbauer, Best and Cruyff in the old NASL long before Major League Soccer came along to offer the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard a last hurrah.

Despite that being one of the highest numbers of players of any country in the world, the percentage of people playing the game is still tiny compared to some South American countries, where up to one in four citizens play the game.

The difference now, however, is that players in their prime are heading to China, lured by the astronomical figures on offer, rather than pursuing their football aspirations at a significantly higher level in Europe or South America.

Oscar is 25 and in the prime of his life. Fellow BrazilianTeixeira was 26 when he turned his back on the chance to join Liverpool at the start of this year and instead signed for Jiangsu Suning.

And Chinese football hasn't finished yet. Sportsmail revealed at the weekend that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has turned down an offer from China of more than £1m-a-week in favour of spending another year at Manchester United, no doubt aware that he will still be able to command equally jaw-dropping sums when he eventually leaves Old Trafford.

His United teammate Wayne Rooney was offered £75m over three years by Shanghai SIPG, while Manchester City's Yaya Toure turned down £577,000-a-week from Jiangsu Suning to stay in the Premier League for a little longer.
Some of the world's top managers have also joined the gold rush.

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