Wu Lei catches COVID-19 in Spain while Fellaini is infected in Shandong

Society & Culture

The China Sports Column is a SupChina weekly feature. Pictured above: Wu Lei and Marouane Fellaini.


Wǔ Lěi 武磊, China’s star soccer player, confirmed on Saturday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 while living in Barcelona.

The 28-year-old left winger plies his trade with RCD Espanyol in La Liga, Spain’s top league, and is one of six players at the club to contract the virus.

“Dear fans, as you might already know I indeed have got the virus,” Wu told fans in a video on Weibo. “Now I’m at home in self-quarantine. Mentally, I’m very well and my symptoms have almost all gone.

“My lungs have been checked, including with a CT scan, and it showed that the situation has turned out very well. I believe we will defeat this virus and I can’t wait to be back playing matches.”

One of the most-watched La Liga goals ever? Wu Lei scores against Barcelona

Xinmin Evening News, a Shanghai daily, reported that Wu reached out to his former mentor and coach, ex-China national team defender Xú Gēnbǎo 徐根宝, on Sunday to reassure him of his condition.

“I was very concerned about his health after hearing about his infection, but Wu told me not to worry as it was not a big problem for him,” Xu told the newspaper. “I hope he can overcome the virus and regain his health, as Chinese football is counting on him at the moment.”

Xu, now 76, was the founder of Shanghai East Asia, now SIPG, and had been a part of Wu’s soccer development at the club.

Wu moved from China to Spain last January for a transfer fee of more than $2 million. He is currently the record goalscorer in Chinese Super League history.

Back in China, former Manchester United midfielder and current Shandong Luneng star Marouane Fellaini revealed on twitter that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

In the post, the Belgian international gave “thanks to fans, medical staff and the club for their care and attention.”

According to Xinhua, the 32-year-old caught the virus after taking a train to Jinan, where he is currently quarantined.

Fellaini moved from Manchester United last year in the January transfer window, making 22 appearances last season in the Chinese Super League and scoring eight times.

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Jeremy Lin speaks up against Donald Trump as he returns to Beijing for two-week quarantine

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Safely landed back in Beijing to finish out the CBA season! Excited to hoop again, but leaving the bay worried and with a heavy heart for the sick, the jobless and all those fighting fear, anxiety and stress over the unknown future. Shoutout to our medical staff in the 50 states for working tirelessly and everyone keep doing your part in slowing the virus! It's been an awesome 2 months camped out in the gym…basketball has never been more meaningful. The world needs basketball now more than ever. I still remember when I went through my toughest moments and worst injuries, you guys were there for me. I hope to return the favor. As all you beloved fans told me the day after my knee injury, keep fighting bc we're #NeverDone ❤️ #14dayquarantine #airportcouchesarenttoobad

A post shared by Jeremy Lin 林書豪 (@jlin7) on

Jeremy Lin and the foreign contingent of CBA stars have begun to return to China in anticipation of the resumption of the league.

The Beijing Ducks star told followers in a post on Instagram of his excitement to restart playing basketball after COVID-19 forced a two-month break to the season.

The 31-year-old point guard, revealed that he had spent the last couple of months staying fit in the gym, and compared the time alone in the gym to what he experienced while rehabilitating from injury.

While praising health care workers across the U.S., Lin continued to criticize Donald Trump for his continued use of the phrase “Chinese virus.”

Lin called out the president for provoking racism against Asian Americans, and called for unity to “fight the virus together.”

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Shanghai Masters Tennis has no plans to move from October

Shanghai Masters Tennis

The organizers of the Rolex Shanghai Masters have confirmed that the tournament will be held between October 11 to 18, the originally scheduled dates.

The organizers confirmed in a statement that the ATP Masters tournament will go ahead as normal but with extra safety measures.

“In order to protect the health of all participants and fans, all the organizers of global events are trying to make the most suitable arrangements,” the statement reads. “We fully support all reasonable measures to protect the interests of the events, and we hope to work closely with ATP, the organizing committees of relevant events and all the players to provide perfect matches for a global audience.”

The decision to push the French Open from the end of May to the end of September has caused concern in Chinese tennis.

With the French Open now firmly in the middle of China’s tennis season, the major will now set to clash with the Chengdu and Zhuhai Opens.

There is worry that a lot of stars that would potentially participate in the Chinese tournaments may skip the China leg of the ATP and WTA world tours to focus on clay-court tennis in Europe to prepare for Ronald Garros.


The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.