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Chinese Super League sends strongest team yet to 2018 World Cup

(People's Daily Online)    17:12, June 11, 2018

The strongest and largest ever group of foreign players from China Super League (CSL) will appear in the approaching 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, which is scheduled to kick off on Thursday, Chinanews.com reported on June 10.

A total of nine football superstars from Brazil, Argentina and other countries famous in football will play in the World Cup on behalf of both Chinese clubs and their own national teams.

Renato Augusto will be the first Brazilian player to play in the World Cup from China’s Beijing Sinobo Guo’an club.

File photo: Renato Augusto (right) trains

The most-trusted midfielder in the eye of the Brazilian national team coach, Tite, played the first nine rounds in the CSL this season, showing good qualities of both defense and attack, scoring two goals and gaining five assists. He contributed to the country’s first Olympic Gold Medal in 2016, and performed well in the qualifying rounds of the 2018 World Cup.

A majority of commentators from Brazil agree that Augusto will play a key role in the team. “No one else in the national team is capable of replacing Augusto as the ‘core’ player who features good ball control, passing accuracy and also the role as a pace maker when necessary,” quoting a renowned Brazilian commentator.

Brazil has a chance of winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, said Augusto, adding that the honor would also go down in the history of the CSL if Brazil was indeed the winner.

File Photo: Javier Mascherano takes part in his first training session after joining Chinese football club Hebei China Fortune.

Javier Mascherano from Argentina has made 143 appearances for his country and become the most capped player. In the 2014 Brazil World Cup, he secured the semi-final victory with a slide tackle.

As a senior footballer, Mascherano made a name for himself with his excellent ability to read the game. Facing strong opponents like France, Germany, Spain and Brazil, the 33-year-old said he will do everything in his power to win the championship.

In addition, the event will see Super Eagles player John Obi Mikel and fellow Nigerian Odion Ighalo in the team line-ups for their country.

José Fonte, Axel Witsel, Yannick Carrasco, Dusko Tosic and Kim Young-gwon will play for their national teams of Portugal, Belgium, Serbia and South Korea.

From 1998 to 2014, there were several signed foreign players in the Chinese league listed in official squads of the World Cup, but this year will peak with the largest number and highest quality.

Brazilian footballers who play for professional Chinese clubs rarely enter into the national team for the World Cup, said Bebeto, a former Brazilian football player, during his stay in Beijing this May.

Now the CSL will be broadcast through Brazil and Augusto’s participation in the upcoming World Cup, indicating an improvement of the Chinese league, noted the goal scorer, adding that it’s believed that more players from Chinese clubs will appear in the international football event. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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