Interview: Former Shanghai midfielder Albertz backs salary cap plans of CSL

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 10, 2021
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By Oliver Trust and Liu Yang

BERLIN, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Former Shanghai Shenhua player Joerg Albertz is backing the Chinese Super League's plans to implement a salary cap from next season on.

Youth development and the Chinese national team will benefit when the club's investments go into talent education rather than spending it on expensive but aged foreign footballers, the 49-year-old told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The former midfielder played for Shanghai for two seasons between 2003 and 2004. He also had spells at Hamburger SV, Fortuna Duesseldorf, and Glasgow Rangers.

"Building a house, you don't start with the roof but with the basement. And the foundation is our kids," Albertz said.

"You can't spend millions on players who are at a certain age and then expect Chinese football to get better," he added.

He called a salary cap the right action to strengthen the Chinese national team in the long run.

Albertz recommended setting up local leagues for youngsters to create competition. It might take a decade to develop their own talents, but the long-term efforts are going to pay off in the end, he said.

What China needs and wants is to develop "good Chinese football players," the Moenchengladbach-based former footballer said, adding that youngsters need competition to learn to deal with ups and downs.

Albertz spoke about China's experiences and praised the country's hospitality and willingness to learn in different sectors.

"I don't regret a single minute from my time in China; that was a great experience."

He praised the German coaching education as it is producing good talent coaches and top-class managers. "Without good talent coaches, you can't set up a solid foundation."

Meanwhile, Chinese football has made significant progress regarding the infrastructure and needs to continue on that path.

Albertz spoke about his last visit to the Shanghai arena three years ago: "Nobody knew I was there. Someone saw me, and the crowd chanted my name. I was greatly honored."

Sadly enough, he rarely has time to follow the CSL games as he is running a football school and is looking after his three kids together with his wife, who suffers from cancer.

As to the current COVID-19 pandemic, he recalled the times of the SARS pandemic in 2003. Opposed to other stars, Albertz didn't leave China at that time but benefitted from the efforts to fight the pandemic.

"If there are problems, you need to stick together and fight together," he said and recommended to follow that pattern in the current COVID pandemic.

Albertz in 2003 joined the anti-SARS campaign together with Chinese basketball icon Yao Ming and other sports stars. "It is important to create awareness of the problem and talk about solutions to get hold of it. I think we are basically at the same point again." Enditem

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