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After Espanyol loses place, China’s best player quietly goes home

06 Aug 2022 | 17:38 | Football

Wu Lei bid farewell to the Spaniard and returned to play for Shanghai Port. The Spanish team accepted the liquidation of the contract (valid until 2024), making China’s No. 1 star a free agent without any transfer fee.

The Spaniard introduced Wu Lei from Shanghai SIPG (now Shanghai Port) for 2 million euros in 2019. The striker, born in 1991, played 126 games, scoring 16 goals and providing 6 assists (according to Transfermarkt data). However, Wu Lei has not used it since his third season at Espanyol when the home team were relegated to the second division. In the past two seasons, he has only played 17 games for the club.

After Espanyol loses place, China's best player quietly goes home - 1

Wu Lei (white shirt) is the number one star of Chinese football.

When Wu Lei was unable to compete in Spain, the Chinese media and online communities repeatedly called for Wu Lei to return. The top star of Chinese football plans to return to his old club SIPG from early 2022. Under the persuasion of the head coach, Wu Lei will stay with Espanyol until the end of the 2021/22 season.

In an interview in China, Wu Lei said that returning to China was mainly due to personal reasons. The striker is looking to be close to his family after spending a few years away from home. In addition, Wu Lei also realized that his chances of playing in Spain are not very big.

“It’s very competitive here, the 18- and 19-year-olds have improved. I’m 31 and I don’t feel like them physically, even compared to who I was three or four years ago.”, Wu Lei said. According to AS, the Chinese star’s salary at Shanghai Port is only a third of what he was paid at Espanyol.

Wu Lei is the number one star in Chinese football and still plays a pivotal role in the national team. In the Super League, 27-year-old Wu Lei once set the record for the most goals in history with 102 goals. The player was nicknamed “Vu Cau Vuong” (King of Football, surnamed Wu).