China’s big spending football revolution poses little threat to Europe because the world’s top players want to play in the best competitions, Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday.
The Italian, who has played for and managed some of Europe’s biggest clubs, said modern-day players still chased glory as much as cash.
“I think that the European clubs are safe because the best competition and the most competitive is Europe,” said Ancelotti.
“Players are not playing only for money, they play to be at the top, to play the best games in the world, so for this reason I think that for the future European clubs are safe,” the Italian said.
He made the comments in Doha on the final day of Bayern Munich’s winter training camp before heading back to Germany.
Sharing the same facilities in Qatar this week was Shanghai SIPG, which just bought Brazilian star Oscar from Chelsea for US$60 million euros (US$63 million).
That jaw-dropping transfer, and the huge wages the Chinese are able to pay, has led to predictions that the hugely wealthy Chinese Super League can outbid Europe’s best in attracting players.
Among the other stars tempted to China in recent weeks have been much-travelled Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez, current Belgian international Axel Witsel, and another former Chelsea player John Obi Mikel.
Tevez, 32, will reportedly become the highest-paid player in the world with a two-year contract of 38 million euros per season at Shanghai Shenhua.
China’s national team, coached by Italian Marcello Lippi, is ranked 82nd in the world — just below the Caribbean island nation of St Kitts and Nevis — and is set to fail in its bid to get to the 2018 World Cup.
Earlier this month, Bayern’s President Uli Hoeness told German media that the extravagant spending by Chinese clubs was “sick.”
He also compared it to the boom in American football in the 1970s when world famous players such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and George Best were tempted to play in the US by big-money contracts.
There has been a flood of money into Chinese top teams.
However, earlier this month, the Chinese authorities ordered a clampdown on the mega sums being shelled out on foreign football stars and warned against “irrational investment.”