Atletico Madrid confirm off-season matches in China
Atletico Madid have confirmed that they will travel to China in the off-season to play three matches as part of their agreement with Shanghai Shenhua and to keep shareholder Wang Jianlin happy.
Madrid, March 7 (IANS) Reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid will play three matches in China this summer, the club's general director Miguel Angel Gil has confirmed.
Gil on Friday said Atletico would play on July 28, and on August 1 and 4, although he did not confirm either their rivals or the venue for the matches, reports Xinhua. "What is certain is that Atletico Madrid will travel to China," said Gil.
Atletico are perhaps the first Spanish club who have placed the most importance in the Chinese market, having signed a collaboration agreement with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua a couple of years ago.
The club also trains a group of young Chinese players as part of the 'Wanda Project' which is designed to help China produce a generation of talented footballers. Gil said the number of youngsters the club were training would double from 30 to 61 this year and rise to over 100 in 2016.
Finally, the Wanda group chairman Wang Jianlin agreed at the end of January this year to purchase 20 percent of the club's shares at a price of just around $50 million.