Messi and/or Ronaldo signing for a Chinese Super League club becomes less fantastical with each transfer window – the flexing of new football financial muscle that saw Chinese clubs spend €last winter alone, has already seen a host of top names make the move East.
La Liga president Javier Tebas said the Chinese Super League could soon be ranked among the best competitions in the world – but added he hoped Ronaldo and Messi would “certainly not” be leaving Real Madrid or Barcelona.
‘ENOUGH TO GO AROUND’
Responding to the possibility of either or both of the megastars signing for a Chinese Superleague club, Tebas said: “You’ll have to ask them that – but I certainly hope not. There are enough football stars to go around.
“Even though some improvement is needed at the moment, the Chinese Super League is slowly raising its standard.
“And in a few years, if the standard is better, it can become among the top in the world. All of us will reap the benefits, because it means we can work together to increase standards.”
However, speculation about the futures of both players has grown throughout the season – tax affairs in Spain for Messi and a possible move to Paris and PSG for Ronaldo being regularly cited as motives for moves.
It means the likelihood of either ending up in Beijing or Guangzhou is far greater than would have been considered even just 12 months ago.
FOLLOWING THE MONEY
In January Atletico Madrid sold star striker Jackson Martinez to Guangzhou Evergrande for a reported €42m – the biggest signing in a massive splurge on big name signings.
Atletico is 20 per cent owned by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Wanda Group, and represents, according to La Liga’s president, a “good opportunity” for Spanish clubs to capitalize on China’s growing love of the beautiful game.
“It allows the teams to have an increased profile in China,” explained Tebas – something that the signing of Ronaldo or Messi would give Chinese football in the world.
£23.5m – AFTER TAX!
Fredy Guarin and Gervinho both moved east while club Jiangsu Suning spent £25m to sign Ramires from Chelsea earlier this year.
The draw of the riches offered in China also proved stronger than that of playing in the so-called ‘world’s best league’ after26-year-old Alex Teixera snubbed EPL side Liverpool and signed instead for Jiangsu Suning for a reported £38m fee that stunned the soccer world.
Whilst the fees are eye-watering the wages these players can pick up are gob smacking with PSG striker Ezequiel Lavezzi having agreed a two-year deal with Hebei Fortune that is set to net the Argentine a cool £23.5m – after tax.
How seductive such numbers will be to Ronaldo or Messi will be the cause of much pondering by the top football tipsters and hoards of online punters.
By: Joe Cahal