Espanyol's new Chinese forward and former Shanghai SIPG player Wu Lei controls a ball during his official presentation by RCD Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on Jan 29, 2019. (PAU BARRENA / AFP)
MADRID - Spanish Liga Santander club Espanyol on Tuesday presented Chinese international striker Wu Lei to the fans and press in their Cornella-El Prat Stadium.
Wu Lei's arrival of a three-year deal (with the option of a fourth) from Shanghai SIPG FC was confirmed by the Barcelona based outfit on Monday and the signing of a player, who has been the top scorer in his country for the past 6 years, has provoked a great deal of interest.
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Wu Lei told the press that he was "very happy to come to LaLiga," which he described as "one of the best in the world."
"I have always wanted to play in Europe and I think I am now mature enough to face the challenge. LaLiga is one of the best (leagues) in the world and I know Espanyol have been looking at me for a while," he added.
The forward admitted it would be a change of culture for him, but said he had "come prepared to learn new customs. It is a different pace of competition, but I am ready for this challenge and I want to show Europe that there are great players in China. It is a big responsibility and I am very excited."
Espanyol's new Chinese forward and former Shanghai SIPG player Wu Lei poses with fans during his official presentation at the RCDE Stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on Jan 29, 2019. (PAU BARRENA / AFP)
Wu Lei said he had talked to Zhang Chengdong, who had a short and unsuccessful spell with Rayo Vallecano in Spain between 2015-16, saying Zhang had "explained a bit about the style of play."
"Now I am going to start learning Spanish immediately," he said, adding that he understood doubts about his move to Spain.
"There are not many Chinese players who have been able to show their talents in Europe and I hope with time and effort I will be able to show mine," he concluded.
Tuesday morning saw Wu Lei visit Espanyol's 'Dani Jarque' training ground, where he met his new team-mates and coach Joan Ferrer 'Rubi', who admitted that the striker has arrived in Spain with a shoulder injury which will delay his debut, although he added the injury was "not too serious."
"He is an adaptable player, who can play in four areas of the attack: on both wings, as a number 10 and a striker. We will see where he plays when we have completed the squad," commented Rubi.
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