There is still some stigma attached to a move to the Chinese Super League by a top football player who has had a successful stint in Europe. He is often labelled as a mercenary who gave up on career progression to choose the easiest path to money, especially if you are as young as Brazilian midfielder Oscar who moved to Shanghai SIPG at 25.
Often, the move does signify giving up on the European dream and choosing stability. The biggest example of this is Alexandre Pato, an AC Milan wunderkind, who lost his way and then found his goal-scoring touch in the Chinese Super League.
Pato's career has not been completely resurrected however, and he is currently a free agent after his last stint at Sao Paulo where he struggled once again. His success in China again raises questions about the standard of the Chinese Super League. But there are notable examples of players who have resurrected their careers or at least extended them fruitfully by playing in China.
We take a look at five of them here in no particular order.
5 players who saved their careers by moving to the Chinese Super League
#5 Renato Augusto
Renato Augusto is one of two Brazilians on this list who has resurrected his international career by moving to the Chinese Super League.
The midfielder had an underwhelming spell at Bayer Leverkusen before moving back to his home country with Corinthians where he stayed for four years till he made the decision to move to China with Beijing Guoan for whom he has played 139 times and netted 38 goals while assisting 41 times.
Augusto's performances for the Beijing club led to him getting more frequent call-ups to the national team with whom he has won an Olympic gold and also travelled to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The player has also publicly hailed the quality of the Chinese Super League.
#4 Marouane Fellaini
Marouane Fellaini may have had his detractors at Manchester United, especially because his spell coincided with the club's fall from lofty heights, but he did win four trophies which included the Europa League and the FA Cup with the Red Devils.
The tall and physical midfielder also got crucial goals, especially with his head, for the club even if he was not always the most aesthetic footballer on the pitch.
Fellaini's popularity at Everton, however, surpassed that at United and past 30, the player made what seemed like a masterstroke move to the Chinese Super League where he joined Shandong Luneng for whom he scored on debut and has scored 11 more times.