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Chinese players who played in the Premier League

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Top Chinese players to have played in the Premier League

Apart from being the most populous nation on earth, the Peoples Republic of China is also home to a number of players that have moved abroad and made their names playing football, especially in the Premier League. The English division is the most watched and exciting league in the world, and throughout its 26 years of existence, some Chinese players have called it home.

While it has been mixed success, the impact of the English football on the Chinese has never been underrated. Top clubs in the European nation have massive following in the Asian country, but China have also had its exports to the Premier League. Here are some of them.

Sun Jihai

Jihai Sun, Manchester City

Jihai Sun, Manchester City

Alongside his countryman, Fan Zhiyi, Sun Jihai was one of the first Chinese players to feature in the Premier League. Back in 1998, he signed for London side, Crystal Palace and made his debut in a 3-0 loss to Bury in the first leg of a League Cup game. He was recalled by his former club, Dalian Shide who were struggling to make an impact in the Chinese league.

He signed for Manchester City back in 2002 and became the first player to sign for the club. In October of the same year, he became the first East Asian to score a goal in the Premier League when he scored the first goal in a 2-0 win over Birmingham City. He also played for Sheffield United who were then in the Championship.

Zheng Zhi

Zheng-Zhi-Charlton-Athletic

Zheng Zhi

The Chinese international joined Charlton Athletic on loan in January 2007 from Chinese side, Shandong Luneng before making the move permanent at the end of the season. He made his debut in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United when he was substituted from Amdy Faye.

After returning to China at the end of the campaign, he re-joined Charlton on a permanent deal in August 2007. He then played in the Championship for the London side before moving to Scottish outfit, Celtic after amassing 12 goals in 89 matches.

Li Tie

A specialist defensive midfielder, Li Tie played in the Premier League for Everton between 2002 and 2006, initially on loan before joining on a permanent deal a year later. . Despite initial resistance to his signing by Everton fans in the summer of 2002, his first season was a surprising success.

 <>Li-Tie

Li Tie

He played 29 times under David Moyes in the league helping the Toffees to a respectable seventh placed finish. In his permanent spell, he suffered a series of nasty injuries and was released by Everton after just 5 matches in 3 years. He was widely respected at Goodison Park, but injuries limited his impact at the club.

While there are no Chinese players currently plying their trade in the English league, it is expected that the improved finances and quality of the Chinese Super League will reflect in the emergence of future Chinese stars that will make a massive impact on English football and the rest of Europe.

The Chinese football authorities are also making massive strides in the youth team setups to ensure that the quality of players coming through are improved.

Written By Mark Weasley for Retrofootballnews.com. Always visit this site for the latest football news and opinions.

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