French second division side Metz on Friday awarded a professional contract to defender Yi Teng, making him the first Chinese footballer to turn professional after being trained in Europe.
Yi arrived in France two and a half years ago and signed a one-year contract in the presence of Chinese Football Federation (FCF) general secretary Wei Di.
“Yi Teng is the first Chinese player trained in France to sign a pro contract,” said Wei.
“We hope he’ll be followed by others. We hope to strengthen our partnership with Metz and that the best Chinese players will come to Metz.”
Wei is currently on a tour of Europe with an FCF delegation, which will also visit French side Le Mans, German outfit Bayer Leverkusen and Spanish giants Barcelona in the coming days.
The FCF are looking for a European club with which to establish a partnership for the training of their best young players.
Metz is one of the candidate clubs and representatives from the Ligue 2 side will travel to China at the end of October to make formal proposals to the FCF.
Metz has been in a partnership with the football federation of the Chinese province of Chengdu since 2004.
Li Jin Yu became the first Chinese player to play in France when he turned out for Nancy in the 1998-99 season.
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