ARGENTINIAN football giant Carlos Tevez, who plays for Shanghai Shenhua, has lashed out at China’s aspirational football league as being decades behind those in Europe.
Speaking to Spanish TV station Movistar, Tevez discussed settling in to his new club and expressed that standards were lower in China.
“I don’t think they will be able to compete with any of the big European sides,” he said, as quoted by AFP. “I don’t think they will get there in 50 years.”
Tevez transferred from Boca Juniors to the Chinese Super League team last December for a US$41 million-per-year contract, making him the highest paid football player on the planet. He earns US$4,800 per hour, in a country where the GDP per capita is US$7,900 a year.
Nevertheless, he thinks that “Even if the best players come, I think the football is very different and the fans treat it in a completely different way as well.”
“They aren’t very physical,” said Tevez. “Without meaning to they can do you damage with a kick because they are clumsy.”
President Xi Jinping has long expressed his desire to improve China’s standing in world football, including in 2011 when he said he wanted the People’s Republic to qualify for the World Cup, host the event, and then win it.
“Technically they are not very good, but I think with this new rule that the government have put in, the kids are going to have to start playing and that they will improve a lot,” said Tevez.
Two weeks ago, an official named Zhang Jian was elected to the 37-member FIFA Council, which he welcomed as meaning “anything is possible” for Chinese football, reports Xinhua.
Zhang said Chinese football has a “bright future because not only does Asia represent a majority of the world’s population, it also has one of the richest and biggest economic markets.”