‘China knows Espanyol’

Francesc Canals, a Spanish Coach working in China, says the country is already aware of Espanyol, who are now under Chinese ownership.

Los Periquitos were bought by Chen Yansheng’s Rastar Group, and Canals has been interviewed by AS to provide an insight into football in the country.

“I’m here because of Nama Sports, who represent Coaches and are responsible for improving the structure of football in Asia,” he revealed.

“My main role is to schedule training, instruct local Coaches and perform the work in sessions. The club and schools I’m at are modest.

“I know Rastar is a multi-national based in China but I haven’t seen or read that the deal has happened, though the language is a handicap. But the takeover is known in football, and it was talked about at our club.

“Mainly the Coaches told me of the effect it will have on the popularity of Espanyol and even ventured to predict which Chinese players could go there.”

Canals confirmed the best-known clubs in China are the usual suspects and that La Liga is lagging behind its continental rivals in popularity.

“The most famous clubs are Barcelona and Real Madrid, as would be expected,” he noted.

“And the players who raise the most passion are Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Andres Iniesta.

“The Primera is followed when games are Noon and 4pm, and they know Espanyol too. I’ve seen on several occasions Espanyol shirts in Beijing, and that pleased me, made me feel closer to home.

“But I have to say the Bundesliga, Serie A and the Premier League are followed. Their schedules help a lot.”

Tags Chen Yansheng