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Ma Xiaoxu Set to Move to Sweden
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The "Wayne Rooney" of Chinese women's football may soon be playing in Sweden, after the China Football Association (CFA) appeared to give the green light to Ma Xiaoxu's move.

A chief official in charge of the women's football from the CFA expressed support for the move after Sweden's domestic league champions Umea IK announced the signing of the striker on its official website on Tuesday.

"It is good news. The transfer will help her improve. The CFA will let her go abroad," Yang Yimin told Titan sports.

Umea have been developing into one of the top clubs in Europe, with five domestic championships and two European titles in the past seven years.

The club revealed they had agreed a six month deal with Ma starting February 20, and according to reports she could earn 5,000 euros ($6,500) per month.

"If I'm allowed to play for the club I will be so grateful for the support of president Xie (CFA vice president Xie Yalong) and Yang," said Ma, one of the brightest talents in the world game.

"I will try to play my best there and then return home to play the World Cup in top form."

The 18-year-old sensation was last year's Asian Women's Player and Youth Player of the Year, the first woman in history to win the latter award.

She also bagged the MVP and Golden Boot awards at the U-20 Women's World Championship in Moscow.

However there is still concern that if the CFA and Ma's domestic club Dalian Shide formally go through with the deal. Ma's overseas spell will clash with the national team's preparations for the Women's World Cup, which takes place from September 10 to 30 in China.

"I still have no time to think about the conflict with World Cup preparations. Actually, the club still has not informed me about the deal. I do not know when to apply for the visa," said Ma.

(China Daily February 8, 2007)

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