Why are so many footballers moving to China?

footballers and china

This is Jackson Martinez, the last talent to have joined the Chinese Super league.

Since the first talents moved to Asia and I am proud to have assisted to some of the matches and see them playing there many more followed in a non-stop money spending campaign.

When Guangzhou ( the most popular and winning team in China) started to hire first profile Managers such as Lippi, who brought the club to 3 consecutive league titles and the Asian Champions League for the first time of the club I was sitting in the first row of the stadium of Guangzhou and Gilardino and Diamanti were just 2 of the successful players on the end of their careers in Europe that accepted to play in the Chinese league for a while.



The difficulties in the league are high for foreigners as first of all the coaches and most of the staff cannot communicate but some good examples are Nba stars that straight after 2000’s started to play in China and more to follow.

Of course money nowadays especially in the last 2 sessions of market are limitless and Messi and Ronaldo are even on the lips of the supporters of the biggest clubs in China( doubting will really happen) but something has changed for sure.

Not anymore as I have mentioned before the players move here at the end of their careers but players such as Jackson Martinez,Ramires,Paulinho,Lavezzi,Alex Texeira,Gervinho,Ba that are all around 30’s and not anymore 34-35 as previously happened.

This as a footballer is the best age when you are not any more naive;the experience you had accumulated helps to win the big trophies and personal awards-let us consider the Ballon d’Or winner average age since 1956 when introduced is 27-28 and this helps you to understand the situation.

So why shall players on the peak of their careers leave big European clubs and go to China instead of Usa,India,Australia or Russia for example?


China is the second biggest economy in the world and the difference of taxes and regulations from the Mls ( in China is purely capitalism and people are happy to splash cash to see the best players playing there) make it more appealing for the players.

Goulard is one of the hottest brazilian profiles and he left Cruzeiro 2 years ago to join Guangzhou Evergrande where the experienced and World Cup winner Felipe Scolari is the maestro.

Officials in China can predict that the Chinese League within 2 years will be the third most watched league in the World just behind the Premier League and Bundesliga, amazing isn’t it?

Not when you see the coaches present there.

From Sven Goran Eriksson to Manzano, Scolari they are all big names and to understand how big China is thinking in terms of football development Lippi has been appointed just a month ago Chinese national team coach.

The plan is to win by 2036 and be competitive within 10 years.

When you have resources, coaches from Europe flying to teach the basics and 1 billion people you might think that someone very good with great skills will emerge, possibly.

When interviewing Eriksson he said “Chinese football is continuously improving” and we believe him with all these players and such enormous budgets available for the chairmen.

Some decided to buy European football clubs as it is happening with AC Milan the 7 Champions League winners club and others prefers to buy the best players and the best coaches as you can see with the latest in temporal order, Villas-Boas just replaced Eriksson at Shanghai SIPG coach and his gold contract has been signed in terms of $11-a year.

The president of Chinese Pupular Republic, Xi Jinping support and plans to make China a superpower football country and with the government behind the League the only limit is probably just the number of the foreigners allowed in a team but except from that everything is possible in China.

If the coaches, the players and the money will continue to flow to the Chinese League there are chances to see the national team maybe reach the Semifinal or a major Cup event within 2-3 World Cups.

For sure the target is high but the people are very positive about it.




Categorized as News

By Matt

Matt is the owner and chief-editor of the Footy Blog, one of the UK's leading football news blogs.