They say everything is possible when you believe.
But in the case of China and its global football expansion, everything is possible when you have enough funds to make it happen.
Once seen as the lucrative stop-off and send-off for veteran players such as Pele, Beckenbauer, Best and Cruyff, the American Major League Soccer is losing the pace behind the extension of Chinese football.
Lucrative world of England’s Premier League is also growing increasingly frustrated and dominated over by the Chinese, who are making bold moves towards players in their prime.
The likes of Ramires, Hulk, Jackson Martinez, former Liverpool target Alex Teixeira, former Arsenal man Gervinho, Tottenham’s Paulinho and Southampton forward Graziano Pelle have all succumbed to the financial appeal of the far East, whereas Chelsea midfielder Oscar is set to become the last in line of the world’s most prominent players to pack their bags for a move to China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has a vision.
His football ideal is slowly starting to materialise, albeit at great cost, as Jinping is transforming his country into a desired destination for world’s best and greatest.
Increased influx of players streaming into the ridiculously rich world of Chinese football has sparked a fierce debate.
Football romantics would be quick to label world’s biggest players moving to China in their prime as embarrassments as they play on the emotional card, forgetting that football has long become a business opportunity and that once-in-a-lifetime breaks can come to haunt you should you decide to pass on them.
Being one of those unfortunate people who struggle to cope with the pace of the football industry, I find it strange that football players would dispose of the emotions that easily for a plunge into the unknown, a plunge which often ends in tears and dissatisfaction from all parts involved.
Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba were among the first ones to test the uncharted Chinese waters, but the French pioneers cut their stay in Shanghai Shenhua shorter than stipulated in their respective contracts returning to Europe after 22 and 11 games for the club, respectively.
Carlos Tevez – the highest-paid footballer in the world?
I don’t expect things would go down differently for Argentine striker Carlos Tevez, who is the last in line of big-names to be linked with a move to the same club.
Former West Ham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus forward is an emotional football player, but it seems that I have mistaken Tevez for a football romantic which he obviously is not.
During his European escapades, Carlos Tevez was never too shy to talk about his boyhood club Boca Juniors. The 32-year-old Argentina international started his career at the Argentina heavyweights but failed to lift the title during his three years at the club, from 2001 to 2004.
Having helped Juventus to consecutive Serie A titles, Carlos Tevez finally got a chance to realise his dream. Emotions were high in November 2015 when Tevez lifted the trophy after a narrow 1-0 win over Tigre.
“I am very happy, I returned here so I could feel these emotions again”, elated Tevez told after the game.
He cried once more in a Boca Juniors shirt, however. But the emotions seem to have an expiration date with the Argentine who waved his club goodbye after scoring in a 4-1 victory over Colon, which is expected to be his last game for Boca.
Emotional Tevez changed his mind on retirement plans for a last hoorah – a lucrative one indeed.
Argentine international has reportedly agreed on a two-year deal with Shanghai Shenhua, reportedly worth £610,000 a week, which would make him the highest-paid footballer in the world as the Argentine would eclipse Real Madrid and Barcelona stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi.
Little more than 14 months after his return to Boca, Tevez decided it was time to end his frustration towards “external factors” which he believed were “placing increased pressure” on both Boca and himself.
Tevez is no stranger to frustration and Manchester City fans can attest to it. Bayern Munich row which sparked a four-month escape to Argentina speaks volumes about player’s energy and character sometimes having a negative effect on his decision making and, from this point of view, the proposed transfer to China could end in a similar manner.
Chinese have good intentions, but possess neither the football appeal not competitive attraction strong enough to keep the world-class players in for too long. Sweetening the deal with money just won’t do it in the long-run.
Money – just like emotions – come with an expiration date and eastern luxury tends to wear off after a while.
I am sure Carlos Tevez will see it for himself soon enough.
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