by Sam Schenerman
Football, or soccer to Americans, is the world’s most popular sport. According to FIFA, over 3.2 billion people watched the World Cup Final in 2014. With such numbers, it’s no wonder the CCP and Chinese businesses are looking to cash in on the sport’s popularity. In recent years, famous players from all corners of the globe have packed their bags for China looking for greener pastures. Or redder pastures.
It comes as Chinese leader Xi Jinping pushes for China to use soccer to achieve the Chinese Dream.
China Spends Big on Foreign Talent
In first months of 2016, Chinese Super League teams spent over $344 million just on acquiring foreign players. If taken in combination with second tier Chinese League One teams, that adds up to over $434 million spent on importing foreign talent. That doesn’t even include salaries for the players. 3 of the top 5 highest paid soccer players play for Chinese teams. These include:
#1 Ezequiel Lavezzi of Hebei China Fortune
#2 Carlos Tevez of Shanghai Shenhua
#4 Oscar of Shanghai SIPG
Just a decade ago, Chinese soccer was considered a joke by the rest of the world’s professional soccer leagues. Now, according to Carlos Tevez, China’s soccer quality is only 50 years behind Europe and South America! Talk about a Great Leap Forward.
Expert Level Quality
Carlos is most certainly an expert at judging quality. After all, he gets paid more than £634,000 ($815,000) a week for plying his trade in China. That means the Argentinian gets paid around $1.30 a second.
Cristiano Ronaldo gets paid a paltry £424,615 ($545,800) a week. So what does the Real Madrid star know? After all, he plays in Spain. Plus, you know those Spanish. They’re always taking siestas during practice, leaving all the real footballing work to those lucky few in China—those proud few who have thrown off the corrupt yoke of FIFA and embraced the pure soccer tradition of Communist China. Don’t listen to those silly reports on corruption and match fixing. Those reports are just propaganda written by hostile foreign forces trying to subvert state power.
Who knows, in 50 years, the Chinese Super League might well be of superior quality to that of the decadent Spanish La Liga. But given how unhappy Carlos Tevez is in China, he probably won’t be around by then.