Former England manager Eriksson believes Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney could move to China
The football revolution, which has been going on in China during the past couple of years, reached a new height today when former England manager Sven Göran Eriksson told a reporter that the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney might move to the Chinese Super League sooner rather than later.
Eriksson, who was appointed as Shanghai SIPG manager in November 2014, believes that world class footballers like Messi and Ronaldo might move to China, not only because of the money but also because of the improved quality of football there.
Some of the top Chinese clubs have already managed to acquire the services of some big names in European football. During the winter transfer window, Guangzhou Evergrande bought Jackson Martinez for £32m while rival club Jiangsu Suning reportedly paid Chelsea £25 million for Ramires and Shakhtar Donetsk £38.5m for Alex Teixeira.
Although these were huge purchases in comparison to the Super League’s history, Chinese clubs were never linked with the Barcelona and Real Madrid superstars before.
During his interview, Eriksson said, "Names like Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney, yes it will probably happen fairly soon that players of that calibre go to a big Chinese club.” Then he immediately lowered his aim and added, “It would be fantastic for football in China if a player like Zlatan comes here.”
Eriksson, who had previously expressed his interest in linking up again with Wayne Rooney, was however not very optimistic about the England captain's switch to a Chinese club. When asked about the Manchester United striker, he said "Who doesn't want Rooney? But I strongly suspect he doesn't want to leave Manchester United, at least not for the moment."
The 68-year-old manager admitted that although the Chinese clubs can compete with the biggest clubs in Europe when it comes to transfer fees, just signing big names will not have any lasting effect on the local league.
He acknowledged the fact that football schools have been opening up all over the country and he also admitted that this development in infrastructure will have the actual beneficial effect and within ten years China will produce enough home grown talents to turn their country into “a big footballing nation.”