Guangzhou sell record goalscorer to Shanghai for ‘national glory’

Published 01/21/2016, 9:08 AM EST

REUTERS – Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande said they allowed top scorer Elkeson to join Shanghai SIPG in a record deal on Thursday to help bolster their Super League rival’s chances of continental glory.

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“For the purpose of supporting Chinese teams to compete in the AFC Champions League, and for the national glory, we agreed Elkeson’s transfer to Shanghai SIPG club,” Guangzhou said in a statement carried by Xinhua news agency.

Guangzhou, the reigning five-times Super League champions and AFC Champions League holders, acknowledged money had also been a factor in the sale of the Brazilian striker, who scored 77 times in three trophy-laden seasons in China.

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“The (sale of) Elkeson created a record high number in Chinese transfer market, the club got back the 5.7 million (euro) investment, and acquired…profit,” the club said.

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Xinhua said Shanghai, who finished two points behind Guangzhou in the Super League last year, had paid around $20 million for Elkeson, citing a source close to the 26-year-old Brazilian.

Elkeson scored the winning goal as Guangzhou beat Al-Ahli of the UAE to win a second AFC Champions League in three years in November. The 2013 win in the final over FC Seoul was the first time a Chinese club had won the continental trophy in 23 years.

Big-spending Guangzhou, part owned by the Alibaba Group, have been the benchmark for local rivals in a burgeoning league awash with heavy investment.

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The development fuelled in a bid to achieve President Xi Jinping’s dream of China one day hosting and winning the World Cup.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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