Aloisio energizes China's cause

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, May 13, 2020
Adjust font size:
Aloisio celebrates scoring for Hebei China Fortune during a Chinese Super League match against Beijing Guo'an in 2017. XINHUA

With Team China welcoming a third naturalized player to its ranks this week, hopes are rising that all is not lost for the country's bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Brazil-born newcomer Aloisio, known in Chinese as Luo Guofu, enjoyed his first training session with the national squad in Shanghai on Monday.

Despite some lingering doubts about the effectiveness of the naturalization policy, Aloisio is raring to prove the critics wrong by helping China book a ticket to the 2022 finals in Qatar.

"I'm very happy now. I've been in China for almost seven years, and now I'm a member of the Chinese national team," Aloisio told PP Sports after arriving at Team China's hotel on Sunday.

"I really want to thank everyone who has helped me in China, including the Chinese Football Association and the clubs. Now it's the time to deliver great performances. I'll try my best to make my contribution."

Aloisio joined Shandong Luneng from Sao Paulo in 2014 and finished as the Chinese Super League's top scorer in 2015 with 22 goals in 28 games.

Stints at Hebei China Fortune and second-tier Guangdong South China Tiger followed, with the popular 31-year-old's energetic presence on the pitch and in the dressing room earning him a move back to the top flight in January with reigning CSL champion Guangzhou Evergrande.

He becomes China's third naturalized player, joining Brazil-born Ai Kesen (aka Elkeson) and England-born Li Ke (aka Nico Yennaris), and Aloisio is relishing the battle for starting berths among the newbies.

"There will be fierce competition as all who can earn call-ups to the national team are great players," said Aloisio. "There are no major differences between us, so we will see who can produce the better performances."

With China's qualifying chances hanging by a thread with four games left, Aloisi needs to quickly back up those words with goals. Head coach Li Tie's side trails Group A leader Syria by eight points and only leads third-place Philippines on goal difference, with eight group winners and the four best second-place finishers entering a second phase of qualifying.

Aloisio's transition to international soccer should be helped by his previous association with Li, who coached him at Hebei.

"I'm looking forward to communicating with the head coach, we've worked with each other before," said Aloisio. "I trust the coach who is a good guy… and I know most of players in the team. I've worked with many of them and some were my opponents in league matches. We will cooperate, train and improve together.

"I've leaned some Chinese and I believe it can improve in the future. I will try my best to learn my 'mother tongue'. I believe in a few months I will be able to communicate in Chinese."

Coach Li revealed that the squad should have been joined by a fourth naturalized player, Alan. However, the Beijing Guo'an striker remains in his native Brazil due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

"Aloisio is a very hardworking player who has a strong desire to win," said Li before Monday's training session in Shanghai. "I had intended to include Alan in the training camp too, but sadly he is still in Brazil and could not return.

"No matter if you are a naturalized player or a homegrown player, the door of the national team is open to all who want to serve their country. With the arrival of more naturalized stars, there will be fierce competition within the team. I hope there can be a positive atmosphere."

CFA president Chen Xuyuan last week said the next round of World Cup qualifiers have been penciled in for October or November, giving Li time to possibly add even more naturalized players to his squad.

Chen, the former chairman of Shanghai SIPG, has acknowledged that critics have a point when they blame the policy for a lack of homegrown attacking talent making the grade at CSL clubs.

However, he believes naturalization will ultimately stimulate the domestic game's development if it can revive the general public's enthusiasm for the national team, which hasn't reached a World Cup finals since its debut in 2002.

"Chinese soccer will never meet the expectation of our fans if the national team cannot produce great results," Chen told China Central Television on Saturday.

"This (naturalization) needs the CFA to think deeper. The next step is to develop a clearer policy on the matter to guarantee the development of the professional leagues and Chinese soccer as a whole.

"When I worked at SIPG, I used to believe importing high-level foreign players would greatly benefit the development of Chinese soccer. In fact, this is a double-edged sword. While the league's level has improved, the room for the development of domestic players has been affected.

"With stronger foreign players, clubs favor the imported stars, especially as forwards and wingers. So there's less domestic talent in attack, which can damage the longer-term development of Chinese soccer."

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from