The Kronenzeitung, with more than 3 million readers (by only eight million residents in Austria), the most important daily newspaper in Austria, is normally not so well known for writing too often about sports in China (and other Asian countries).
Those days they (and many other publishing companies and media all over Europe) have almost an daily eye on China. On China’s Sport.
In the last few months Chinas Football Clubs invested a lot for foreign players from all over the world to increase the level of their Chinese Super League.
And to get a lot of attention from all over Europe. And the World.
Oscar (Brazil) from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG – 60 Million Euro ...
Hulk (Brazil) from Zenit St Petersburg to Shanghai SIPG – 55,8 Million Euro ...
Daily reports in British TV, some sort of astonishment in traditional and football-enthusiastic countries like Germany, Italy or Spain ...
“Normally I never would think about changing to China ... But after getting this offer ...” newspapers from all over Europe quoted Axel Witsel, a 28 year old huge talented player from Belgium after changing from St Petersburg (where he definitely also earned a lot of money) to Tianjin Quanjian.
“They are getting completely crazy ... ” some football experts and reporters made comments like this about what happened inside China during the last months.
China is not that far from Europe – some of the most important statements from head of state Xi Jinping are reaching Europe as well. Beside the fact that Mister Xi Jinping mentioned (what never would happen in similar situations in Europe) in his latest New Years speech the fact that China’s Women Volleyball Team was very successful in 2016. All the newspapers around Europe and all the TV-Stations make many remarks and notes about Xi Jinping and his well known football-affinity.
Back to Kronenzeitung from Austria: “We want to become Football World Champion until 2050”, the paper wrote about one of the latest speeches from Xi Jinping.
Also the fact that China plans an investment of 760 Billion Dollars for football infrastructure, to reach the goal establishing 50,000 football academies until 2025 is almost daily a big story in many European papers and TV-Stations.
Football – that’s quite clear is in the role of pole position when we are talking about daily Sports News in Europe. Normally they are focused on their respectively national Leagues.
In the last weeks most of them are making bigger reports on China.
One of the reasons why this happened in Austria as well: Jonatan Soriano, best player in Austrian League in the last four years and capturing the national title with his club Red Bull Salzburg, was changing to Beijing Guoan for (reported) 10,000,000 Euro (for Red Bull) and a yearly salary of (reported) 8,000,000 Euro.
Enough motivation for the “Presse”, known and respected in Austria in the category of the (so called) Quality-papers to point out in big headlines:
“China’s Crazy Show of Millions – Football as a toy of the Chinese government ... ”
Reports like this are coming more and more across Europe. It’s a mixture of negative reports and of respectful and positive reports.
But one point is quite clear:
What happens in China’s Football Super League pushed China’s Sports (and in particular football) much more into the European headlines than expected.
In a similar amount this happened 2008 during the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing and it will happen again in 2022 during the next Olympic Games ...