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European football clubs show solidarity with China in fighting against COVID-19

Published : 27 Feb 2020, 14:00

  DF-Xinhua Report

The line-up players of SK Slavia Praha wearing jerseys with the message "Stay strong Wuhan" in English and Mandarin pose prior to their Czech Liga match against SFC Opava in Prague, the Czech Republic, Feb. 22, 2020. File Photo Xinhua.

Hong Chengcheng, a medical staff at the Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, got her wish fulfilled last weekend when she received special greetings from Yannick Carrasco, the Belgian football star now playing for Atletico de Madrid of Spain on loan from Chinese club Dalian Professional.

   Hong is a nurse from the Second Hospital affiliated to Dalian Medical University in northeast China's Liaoning province. Recently she was dispatched to Wuhan to support the medical treatment of affected patients in the city. As a big fan of Dalian Professional Football Club and especially her most-loved player Carrasco, she expressed her best wishes online to the team in the new season and said her biggest wish was to receive greetings from Carrasco.

   "Hi, Hong Chengcheng, I heard about your story and I know you are helping control the epidemic in Wuhan, which is quite difficult and dangerous. Stay strong and healthy, I believe you will win the fight," said Carrasco in the video sent to Hong. He also sent his best wishes to all his Chinese fans.

   Carrasco was not the only player to show support to the Chinese fans in the battle against the epidemic. About two weeks ago, in the home game against Celta on Matchday 24 of La Liga, Real Madrid players went out onto the Santiago Bernabeu pitch in special T-shirts dedicated to China. The club showed as well a banner with encouraging words: "United, we will be like a fortress. Come on, China!"

   Espanyol, where the Chinese star Wu Lei plays, has also paid close attention to China's anti-epidemic situation since the outbreak of the coronavirus and actively raised medical supplies in Spain to support China.

   On February 22, Czech top-flight team SK Slavia Praha expressed solidarity with China during their 2-0 home win over SFC Opava.

   Before kick-off, players from Slavia wore jerseys with the message "Stay Strong Wuhan" in English and Mandarin to show support to Chinese people.

   The same message could also be seen in front of the players' pre-match line-up and on the big screens at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague. The club also plans to hold an online "Wuhan"-themed jersey auction to raise funds for supplies for medical workers fighting the epidemic in China.

   "We want to express, in our own way, our solidarity with our Chinese friends at this difficult time," said Jaroslav Tvrdik, chairman of the Slavia club.

   Zhang Jianmin, Chinese ambassador to the Czech Republic, together with Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Jan Hamacek, watched the game. Zhang expressed gratitude to the club and the Czech people for their support.

   "This has shown the friendship between the people of our two countries, which gives us more confidence in fighting against the virus," said Zhang. "With strong support from all over the world including the Czech Republic, China has the confidence and ability to win this battle."

   Such scenarios have also been seen in other European countries like Portugal and Italy.

   On February 9, at San Siro Stadium during the match Inter Milan between AC Milan, and a week later, at Estadio de Luz during a match between Benfica and Braga, slogans showing support to China could be seen on banners and big screens.

   "On my behalf and on behalf of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, I want to express a feeling of deep solidarity with our friends from the People's Republic of China, at this very difficult time, that we are sure they will be able to overcome," said Benfica president Domingos Soares de Oliveira.