Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

'Looking for Lenin': The search for fallen Soviet statues in Ukraine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

From footballer to inmate: Will OJ Simpson be released?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Time to taper? ECB governing council meets in Frankfurt

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Macron and the military: Has power gone to his head?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Miniskirts make headlines in France and Saudi Arabia (for different reasons)

Read more

THE DEBATE

'Let it fail': Trump's hands-off approach to governing

Read more

FOCUS

Video: More lone juvenile migrants arriving in Italy

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Why violence against women often goes unpunished in Turkey

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Dunkirk', 'Tom of Finland' and 'Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict'

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2017-07-16

China dreams of superpower status on the football pitch

China has been redrawing the world's football map in recent months. Thanks to virtually unlimited funds, players and coaches from some of the best European clubs are flocking to China to develop its national league, while football academies are popping up to train future stars. The reason for all this enthusiasm? President Xi Jinping’s penchant for the beautiful game and its potential as a vehicle for Chinese nationalism.

China has just made a stunning entry into the world of football. With high-profile transfers and outrageous salaries, Beijing intends to become a major player, attracting the biggest stars to its football league. Argentina's Carlos Tevez, Brazilian players Givanildo Vieira de Sousa (known as "Hulk") and Oscar as well as Belgium’s Axel Witsel are just some of those who were unable to resist the appeal of the Chinese Super League clubs and their wealthy owners.

This craze can be partly explained by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s taste for the beautiful game, with the Chinese leader making the sport a national priority. His goal is twofold: to make China a football superpower and to use it as a vehicle for Chinese nationalism.

The country is aiming high. China hopes someday to host the FIFA World Cup and even dreams of becoming a world champion in 2050. From Shanghai to Guangzhou, our reporter went to find out more about this new tool of Chinese soft power.

By Antoine VÉDEILHÉ

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-07-14 Asia-pacific

China dreams of superpower status on the football pitch

China has been redrawing the world's football map in recent months. Thanks to virtually unlimited funds, players and coaches from some of the best European clubs are flocking to...

Read more

2017-07-13 Middle East

Exclusive: Storming Raqqa, IS group's cursed capital in Syria

The city of Raqqa in northern Syria has been held by the Islamic State group since early 2014. But the terror group's Syrian headquarters is on the verge of liberation. Snipers...

Read more

2017-07-07 European Union

Poland’s love-hate relationship with the EU

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, is a maverick. On civil rights, justice and the environment, Poland is increasingly breaking away from EU...

Read more

2017-06-30 Saudi Arabia

Women in Saudi Arabia: A long road to equality

In Saudi Arabia, women are considered second-class citizens. They cannot drive or travel without the authorisation of a male guardian: a brother, father, cousin or even a son....

Read more