Star wants to attract more foreign soccer talents
Updated: 2012-06-26 07:30
By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)
After spending a season with Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande, Dario Conca says he would like to provide assistance to South American players interested in playing in China.
Dario Conca, an international soccer player with Guangzhou Evergrande, at his home in Guangzhou this month. Zou Zhongpin / China Daily
"Chinese soccer is growing. The Chinese league has developed a very healthy momentum over the years, especially this season," Conca said.
After being voted the best player in Brazil in 2009 while playing for Fluminense, Conca signed a three-and-half-year transfer contract worth $10 million - a record at the time in the Chinese league - with Guangzhou Evergrande in July 2011.
"With more investment and imports of more international star players, the level of the Chinese league has improved a lot. And I would like to bring more players from South America to China," he said.
The Argentine international played a key role in helping Guangzhou Evergrande claim the title last season with 25 appearances and 16 goals.
Conca continued his superb performance this season both in the Chinese domestic league and the AFC Champions League.
In the latest CSL match, Conca scored the last goal for Guangzhou Evergrande, helping the team beat Liaoning Hongyuan 3-0 on Saturday.
Conca said that more imports would help further boost soccer development in China.
"Importing international star players and coaches is of great importance to shorten the gap in soccer development between China and other countries," he said.
Guangzhou Evergrande has five South American players - Conca, Brazil's Gabriel Cleo, Luiz Muriqui and Paulo Marcos and the recently signed Lucas Barrios from Paraguay, a former striker with Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.
Conca said he had played an important role in the club's move to hire the Paraguayan international.
"Before he came, I told him a lot about China - the city and the team. I wanted him to know more about how soccer is developing in China. And I think it may have helped him make the decision to play in China," he said.
Conca, who now lives with his wife and son in Guangzhou, the capital city of South China's Guangdong province, believes that Barrios' arrival is positive.
"We have the same language, the same culture and the same lifestyle," he added.
Speaking about his life in Guangzhou, Conca said that he spends a lot of time at home with his son.
"I spend most of my time with my family, especially since my son was born here in March. I rarely go out with my friends from Argentina and Brazil. Some of them run barbecue restaurants in Guangzhou," he said.
Conca said that his family has got accustomed to life in Guangzhou and that he is trying to find a balance between work and family life.
"At the start, I found it hard, but my translator and driver helped me a lot. I am happy living here," he said.
After training and playing, Conca watches sports programs on Chinese TV channels.
"I like some Chinese sports. I am now also playing golf and I know there are some quite nice golf courses here," he said.
More intl players
This season, a number of South American internationals have moved to the Chinese league. The latest import was Colombian midfielder Giovanni Moreno, from Argentina's Racing Club to Shanghai Shenhua.
On Saturday, the Shanghai-based club announced a two-year deal with the option for a further two with Moreno, 25. That was shortly after it announced another big import, that of Cote d'Ivoire striker Didier Drogba from English Premier club Chelsea on Wednesday.
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