Entries in Hidetoshi nakata (2)
Generally speaking, Asia is taking over. Whether its China for industry and economy or Japan or South Korea for their heigh tech infrastructure and appeal, Asia is an ever growing and extremely valuable market, and nowhere else than football is that more apparent. Premier League matches featuring Asian players attract more viewers than the biggest of derbies. From Park Ji-Sung to Lie Tie, and more recently Ryo Miyaichi and Ju-Young Park, both Gunners players, the Asian presence has been getting bigger and bigger.
It is now commonplace for friendlies, but also important competitive games like the Club World Cup to take place in the far east, and how you could you forget the first Asian World Cup back in 2002? However where games are played isn't everything, and when you look at the players Asia is producing, they actually aren't at all bad.
More and more talents are emerging: the first superstar to really come out of Asia was Hidetoshi Nakata, but now Park Ji-Sung, Keisuke Honda, Park Ju-Young and Ki Sung Yueng are the biggest names. It is also clear that talent for the future is there, with Ryo Miyaichi no doubt the biggest superstar in the making.
I reckon it won't be at all long before we see an Asian player ranked as one of the best in the world, especially when China get their act together. We haven't seen a lot of talent come out of China, Sun Jihai probably the biggest name, but get a few football academies in there and I'm sure they'll start takeover as well.
Over the past six months or so, Chinese football has been in the media spotlight more and more, and with the symbolic move of Nicolas Anelka to Shanghai Shenhua, we can be expecting more high profile football news from a country more famous for gymnastics and Yao Ming. With the money that has recently been invested in Chinese football, the prospect of playing in China will no doubt tempt more and more professionals to make the move.
Having said that, there are already some decent players who play in the Chinese league. Apart from Nicolas Anelka, Chris Katongo, who starred for Zambia at the Africa Cup of Nations plays for Henan Construction FC is really underrated player who would be able to hold his own in any league in Europe.
With all the money that's being spent rejuvenating Chinese football, we could also see some talented Chinese players in the future. In the past, it has to be said, they have been scarce. Sun Jihai is probably the biggest name to have come out of China, but I reckon that the best is still very much to come. If the academies improve, we could be sing more Chinese exports to the big European leagues. Surely, when you have billions of people, you can manage to find a few world class footballers.
So to directly answer the question in the title, Chinese football has a lot to offer in the future. The game appeals to a huge Chinese audience, and there is no doubt that there will be world class footballers to come out of Asia, not just China but Japan and Korea, who already have several superstars to their name such as Hidetoshi Nakata and Park Ji-Sung. China are taking over everywhere, from business to sports, and it will tough to resist.