Chen Zhizhao, a 23-year-old midfielder, has become the first Chinese player to join a top-flight club in the land of the “beautiful game”.
The unlikely announcement Tuesday that Chen had signed for Sao Paulo team Corinthians on a two-year loan raised eyebrows in a country known for generation after generation of homegrown talent. Flavio Pires, Zhizhao’s agent, said he hoped more players would follow.
“We want to bring more players from China and Japan to play in Brazil. We can’t be prejudiced against these players,” he said.
Pires admitted Zhizhao was not expected to become the next Pele. “He’s not a player who is coming to play immediately (or) to fight for a place with Corinthians’ top athletes,” Pires said.
“He has quality, was well-looked at by the club’s football department but is coming to be part of the squad, not least because he will need time to adapt to our rhythm.
Ref to blame, says Arsenal's Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger blamed referee Lee Probert following Arsenal’s dramatic 2-1 defeat at Fulham.
“The referee influenced the game completely the wrong way in my opinion,” said Wenger.
Swiss defender Djourou’s sending off came when he fouled Zamora. “The first yellow card was not a yellow card, the second was a foul for us,” Wenger said.