Football has found yet another fan – this time in the form of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who hopes for China to lift the football World Cup in the future.
Backing the growing interest in the sport, a real estate company – Evergrande – turned a rural southern China area into a Football School in Quingyuan, Guangdong, making it the largest football academy in the world at a cost of USD185 million.
The 167-acre site has 50 pitches in addition to basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, a movie theater and swimming pool along with a gym, several canteens with even a library. It is home to 2,600 boys and 200 girls. A link up with Real Madrid means more than 20 Spanish coaches run sessions at the school alongside translators.
Parents are even willing to pay up to USD9,200 a year – more than the average annual wage in China – with hopes pinned at their children to either make it to the national football team or play for Spanish clubs.
Will China translate its economic power into football prowess?
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