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|Wu Lei's First Espanyol Goal Draws An Estimated 25 Million Fans In China by drewsman(m): 6:51pm On Mar 03, 2019|
More than 25 million fans in China were estimated
to have watched online as Wu Lei become the first
Chinese player to score a goal in one of the big five
European leagues for 3,731 days on Saturday.
Wu joined Espanyol from Shanghai SIPG in January,
and the international star grabbed the third as Los
Periquitos defeated Real Valladolid 3-1 to move
into 11th in La Liga.
A source at PPTV, the official broadcaster of La
Liga in China, told ESPN that the ratings had grown
since the forward's debut against Villarreal drew
around 10 million with the record, until yesterday, at
19.7 million for Wu's first start against Valencia on
Saturday's figure was boosted by an early kick-off
which meant the game started at 8 p.m. Beijing
Wu's goal has dominated the Chinese sports media
that has celebrated the first strike in a major league
since Shao Jiayi's goal for Energie Cottbus against
Bayer Leverkusen secured a Bundesliga point in
"I'm moved," Wu, who gave his shirt to a fan at the
stadium after the game, said. "I'm very happy with
how the fans have welcomed me here. I hope I can
keep scoring more goals for them."
"The Wu effect" has been felt off the pitch as well
as on it. Within just two weeks of becoming an
Espanyol player, the shirt of the 2018 Chinese
Super League top scorer became the best-seller at
the club this season.
It was reported last week by official kit
manufacturer Kelme that over 10,000 had been sold
since he joined the club, a figure that is set to rise
following Wu's strike.
"His jersey went out of stock shortly after the
signing was announced about a month ago, and
sales of his jersey keep soaring since then," said
Liu Zejun, the chief marketing officer of Kelme
"Wu's move to Espanyol came as a happy surprise
to the company, and we expect that he will keep in
Chinese fans may have waited years to see one of
their own shine on a major European stage but
Rubi, coach of Espanyol, is impressed with just
how smoothly the 27 year-old has settled in.
"He has adapted quickly," Rubi said. "His
teammates recognise his qualities and he is one of
the team. He understands everything. We are happy
and his teammates have helped him a lot.
"We knew about his qualities when we signed him
and he is a player who finds and uses space very
well. He keeps possession well and is fast and
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