The captures of Axel Witzel and Oscar for the Chinese (not so) Super League signalled the start of something: people actually taking note of what an earth is going on over there.
Acquiring the likes of Carlos Tevez, a player in his final years, and laughable footballers such as Papiss Cisse and Gervinho, was never going to catch our attention, too much. However, signing of footballers in their peak years, players who make Chelsea’s matchday 18, players who turn down Serie A title holders, Juventus, does more than raise your eyebrows Carlo Ancelotti style.
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Despite the (kind of) newfound – for want of a better word – ‘respect’ for the Chinese Super League, the Chinese FA are looking to undo all that in one truly stupid and unprecedented move.
If a season is drawn come the end of a campaign that isn’t much better than Sunday League football, the winner of the title will be decided by how many Chinese goalscorers each team has.
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But considering the CSL is seemingly only keen on signing high profile non-Chinese forward players, it won’t take too many goals from the locals to nab you that title – just two players in the top 15 goalscorers in the CSL, this season, are born in China (in comparison, there are six Englishman in the top 15 Premier League scorers).
The Chinese Super League best XI would do alright the Premier League
GK – Zeng Cheng – Guangzhou Evergrande
101 appearances and counting for Guangzhou Evergrande. Won't be long before Gigi Buffon or Iker Casillas make the move to China and unfairly replace Cheng, you'd imagine.
DF – Rong Hao – Guangzhou Evergrande
Having spent his whole career in his homeland, the left-back is something of a national treasure.
DF – Hong Jeong-ho – Jiangsu Suning
Cleared of any wrongdoing in 2011 over match-fixing in the K League, despite the fact four million was deposited into his account from gangs. Lol. Left the Bundesliga, this summer, for a taste of Chinese Super League action.
DF – Stephane Mbia – Hebei China Fortune
The one-time mercenary at Queens Park Rangers, is now doing the same at Hebei China Fortune.
CM – Ramires – Jiangsu Suning
Has settled into Chinese life well, having been handed a four-match ban for being sent-off AFTER the full-time whistle. Good going, lad.
CM – Fredy Guarin – Shanghai Greenland Shenhua
Clearly the thought of playing with Demba Ba was too much to resist for the talented midfielder.
RW – Hulk – Shanghai SIPG
The prime example of a footballer who puts money before football. That being said, never been too sure if he's even that good - apart from a rocket of a strike on FIFA.
LW – Ezequiel Lavezzi – Hebei China Fortune
You know what? Lavezzi can get fucked. Honestly, out of all the footballers that have sold their soul to move to China, his move was the most 'WTF?!'.
CAM – Alex Teixeira – Jiangsu Suning
Wheyyyyyy remember when the Brazilian joined Liverpool?! That was amusing seeing the Reds losing their shit over the thought of signing the talented attacking-midfielder. Instead, he sacked them off and left Shakhtar Donetsk for the Chinese Super League.
ST – Obafemi Martins – Shanghai Greenland Shenhua
Only 31, and yet it feels like the former Newcastle United forward has been around longer than Ryan Giggs was overhyped. Sadly never reached the levels he promised to when a rising star at Inter Milan.
ST – Graziano Pelle – Shandong Luneng
The then-Southampton man's move to the Chinese Super League raised a few eyebrows. Impressing for the Saints and earning international recognition, it seemed a strange move to jeopardise all that. But then you realise that the striker is now the sixth-best paid footballer in the world!