Wen Zihao from Quzhou, western Zhejiang province joins Real Betis, a Seville-based football club. [Photo/qzrb.com]
Wen Zihao, a ten-year-old footballer from Quzhou, western Zhejiang province, flew to Spain to join Real Betis, a Seville-based football club, on Dec 1, becoming the 100-year-old club's first Chinese player.
Real Betis Balompié, or Real Betis, was founded on 12 September, 1907 and is in the men's top professional division of the Spanish football league system, known as La Liga, having won the Segunda División in the 2014–15 season.
The youth was selected after a coach from the team saw his tryout for Lisbon's Benfica sports club.
Born into a family of football fans, Wen's father, Wen Liuqing, once invested heavily in the local football team.
However, at the beginning of his football playing, a youth coach from local club denied Wen's dream for his parents' short stature and believed that his short stature would prevent the boy from being a successful footballer.
The little boy sniffed at the coach's judgement and said that it's emotion quotient and intelligence, instead of stature, that decide whether one can win a game or not.
By hard exercise and balanced diet, 10-year-old Wen has grown to 1.51 meters, even no shorter than the Spanish football players of his age.
On Dec 1, Wen made his debut at a youth game, playing for Real Betis.
Foreign coaches pay more attention to nurturing children's creativity and interest in playing football than their Chinese counterparts, said his father Wen Liuqing.
He added that it's hard to tell the difference when these players are still young, but as they get older those trained by foreign coaches have an advantage and are harder to defeat.
Over the past two years, in addition to Wen, two other young football players have also joined foreign clubs. Wang Haupeng joined Spanish football club Real Sociedad and Zhe Jie took a place at French football club AJ Auxerre.
Wen Zihao prepares to make his debut at Real Betis. [Photo/qzrb.com]
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