14 Well-Known Footballers Who Now Play In The Chinese Super League

A revolution is happening...

It's actually been a bit surreal. Though a handful of talented footballers have spent their twilight years in the Chinese Super League, the competition was never taken too seriously - until recently. The Chinese government have began actively encouraging clubs to spend big money, in order to continue the development of football in the region, and the results have been surprising. We've seen Champions League winners, World Cup stars and once-bright prospects making big-money moves to Asia in recent months, and there'll undoubtedly be more to follow. As you'll read later on, the sums of money being thrown around are crazy, and China has broken its own transfer record three times in the current window. If you believe players are going over there to play in front of 50 or so locals for a few extra zeros in the bank, you're wrong. Yes, the financial side is beyond lucrative, but Chinese Super League attendances were pretty much the same as Serie A and Ligue 1 last season, and they'll certainly be higher after the crazy recruitment drive that has taken place. It's more about the project and long-term vision for the men recruiting these superstars. Though the Champions League is obviously not an option, the plan is for the next Club World Cup winner to be Chinese. So which players are currently in China that you've heard of? How much did they go for? Here's 14 well-known footballers currently playing in the Chinese Super League, featuring four Brazilians, seven strikers and three former Chelsea players.

14. Jackson Martínez (Colombian Guangzhou Evergrande)

After building a reputation as a formidable forward at Porto, Martinez was subject to a big-money move to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, who are famous for their excellent recruitment of prolific forwards. For one reason or another, it didn't quite work out in Spain for Martinez, and he was dubbed one of Atletico's worst-ever strikers after just a few months. Having scored just three goals in 22 games, Atletico made the decision to sell the Colombian Guangzhou Evergrande for a Chinese record £31 million. This deal worked for everyone. Atletico made profit and got an underperforming player off their books, Guangzhou got to make a high-profile signing and Martinez got a significant pay-rise.
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Demba Ba
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Journalism student hopping between London and the North-East. Boxing enthusiast and Football Manager addict. Was diagnosed with supporting Sunderland AFC as a child.