Wu Lei, Wang Shuang win top awards at Chinese Super League gala

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Espanyol's new Chinese forward Wu Lei holds his new jersey during his official presentation by RCD Espanyol in Barcelona, Catalonia, on Jan 29, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Former Shanghai SIPG striker Wu Lei, who joined the Spanish La Liga side Espanyol last month, claimed the Golden Ball award in the Chinese Super League (CSL) gala on Monday.

Wu had scored 27 goals in the 2017-18 season to make the best striker in the domestic league, helping SIPG seal their first ever CSL title.

The women's Golden Ball award went to Wang Shuang. The Chinese midfielder signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain last August and had since showed stellar performances, scoring seven goals and dishing out seven assists for the French club.

Wang was named Asian Football Confederation Women's Player of the Year at the AFC annual awards ceremony on November, becoming the fourth Chinese player to win the award, after Sun Wen, Bai Jie and Ma Xiaoxu.

Shandong Luneng manager Li Xiaopeng won the Best Coach award after the former Chinese international steered Luneng to the third place in the CLS and also reached the final in CFA Cup last season.

Both Golden Ball winners were absent from the ceremony, but their images appeared on the stage through holographic projection. Wang challenged Wu on vying for more goals in their respective clubs and Wu accepted it.

Former Chinese national team coach Bora Milutinovic, who led China's only participation in the joint South Korea-Japan World Cup in 2002, Zhu Guanghu, president of Shanghai Football Association, Kaka, former Brazilian football icon, and SIPG midfielder Oscar attended the ceremony.

The Golden Ball awards list was decided by votes from the top 100 Chinese media in line with the players' and coaches' comprehensive performances all through the season.

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