The Top Ten Players in the Chinese Super League

The Top Ten Players in the Chinese Super League to Look Out For This Season and the Next!

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The Chinese Super League is in one of it's closest races in years with Shandong Luneng looking to break the Beijing / Guangzhou / Shanghai stranglehold at the top of the table.

As the season draws to a climatic conclusion and with the finishing post in sight, we look at the players who have and are making a crucial difference for both club and country with their form set to continue into the new season regardless of who wins the Chinese Super League this time around.

These are the top ten players making the news and grabbing the headlines!

Zhang Linpeng (Guangzhou Evergrande and China National Team Defender)

Zhang Linpeng (Guangzhou Evergrande and China National Team Defender).

For the total package in terms of a modern footballer, Zhang Linpeng, comes close to being the real deal. Fast, strong, and blessed with both attacking and defensive capabilities, Zhang can also score some pretty spectacular goals at times. Italian managerial legend Marcello Lippi has constantly raved about Zhang and his capabilities and with good reason as well; Zhang is one of the key lynchpins of the all conquering Chinese champions, Guangzhou Evergrande and he can only develop and improve even further.

Zhang Linpeng in the Chinese Super League

Still in his mid-twenties, Zhang has won the Chinese Super League and Asian Champions League and represented the Chinese National Team and he performed admirably in the Asian Cup earlier this year in Australia. In terms of the Asian club playing experience, he has pretty much done all there is to do so naturally, a move overseas would be the next logical step for him to make a mark on a wider stage.

For the longest of times, he has been linked to a move to Inter Milan but this has not borne fruit yet so any team looking for a true gem and consistent professional could look no further than Zhang. Known for his galloping runs down the wing and for being a great tackler, he continues to light up the Chinese Super League as well as establish himself as a driving force internationally as well. Oh and he can also score from the half way line as well.....

Wang Dalei (Shandong Luneng and China National Team Goalkeeper)

Wang Dalei (Shandong Luneng and China National Team Goalkeeper).

The Chinese National team's steady improvement has been placed down to their solid defensive line and of course, behind every defense is a commanding goalkeeper. Step forward the charismatic Wang Dalei who has established himself as number one for both club and country and if his form continues, will continue to hold onto the national team jersey for an extremely long time.

Wang Dalei in the Chinese Super League

Wang Dalei is emerging as a true leader and definitely not afraid to voice his opinion to either his own defenders and the opposition. Shandong have emerged as title challengers and having Wang in the side is proving to be invaluable after his move from Shanghai Shenua. Not only is he a huge presence both in terms of physicality and personality, he is also incredibly agile with excellent reflexes.

Wang Dalei's profile was raised at the Asian Cup in Australia when he formed an unique friendship with a 12 year old ball boy who gave him advice on which way to dive against Saudi Arabia which in turn lead to a crucial penalty save. With his hot headed bad boy long past him, Wang Dalei has matured and in the form of his life.

Wang Dalei's relationship with a ball boy at the Asian Cup 2015

Shandong Luneng would do well to hold onto Wang and if they do then expect Shandong to be challengers again.

Gao Lin (Guangzhou Evergrande and China National Team Striker)

Gao Lin (Guangzhou Evergrande and China National Team Striker).

Brilliant on his day, Gao Lin is probably the most skillful player in the Chinese Super League and in the headlines constantly but not always for the right reasons. A consistent scorer,however, there is always the underlying feeling that he should be doing much better and that he is not fulfilling his vast potential which has always been promising ever since he was first discovered as a teenager at Shanghai Shenua.

Gao Lin is a striker who divides opinions as he committed the cardinal sin of moving from a Shanghai team to Evergrande where he has flourished and been successful but Shanghai Shenua fans haven't really forgotten about this so every return to Shanghai is a robust one to say the least. Always in the news, the ever temperamental Gao Lin was recently banned for five Chinese Super League games for throwing his boots at a Liaoning Whowin fan after a controversial game.

Gao Lin's goals for Evergrande

Fleet footed and with the ability to drive home from distances, Gao Lin has the taste for the spectacular and the sublime and he rarely does tap ins and if they are tap ins then they are spectacular and sublime ones at that!

Fearless and brave, Gao Lin is still young and showed his real side when Guangzhou Evergrande defeated Bayern Munich in a recent friendly as he took on the Bayern defense with several mazy runs. Let's hope that the Chinese Super League and beyond can see more of the real Gao Lin.

Wu Lei (Shanghai SIPG and China National Team Attacking Midfielder / Striker)

Wu Lei (Shanghai SIPG and China National Team Attacking Midfielder / Striker).

Despite being 23, Wu Lei seems to have been around for ages but that is because he has been around for absolute ages and the whole of China has seen him grow up! He made his professional soccer debut at the age of 14 and has amassed nearly 200 appearances for Sven's (Yes, still that Sven) Shanghai SIPG. A quick thinking player with the feet to match, there is no doubt that he will improve with age and experience and he can expect to enjoy a long and successful career in both China and if the opportunity arises, abroad.

Wu Lei is a consistent player and can only get better. This season and next season can truly be his breakout year and the Chinese national team can only benefit if he remains injury free.

Wei Lei scores for Shanghai SIPG

(Shandong Luneng and Brazil Striker)

Shandong Luneng and Brazil Striker.

Shandong Luneng's remarkable rise from a there and there a-bouts team to challengers can be placed down to many factors and one is definitely the arrival of the Brazilian Diego Tardeilli who has been a surefire success since his arrival in China.

Showing both desire and a phenomenal attitude, he has quickly become a fan favorite and has chipped into Shandong's remarkable challenge to break the Guangzhou / Beijing / Shanghai stranglehold on the top of the league. Expect more fireworks from the Brazillian as he settles into life in China.

Diego Tardeilli goal in the Chinese Super League

Darko Matić (Beijing Guoan Defensive Midfielder)

Soccer in China.

The evergreen Darko Matic is one of the most popular players in China. In a nation where success can sometimes be down to building good relationships to thrive then Matic has it down to an art-form and continually thrives as a public figure and a long serving Beijing Guoan player. Fluent in Mandarin, he also has over 1 million followers on the Chinese version of Twitter

Lets see if he can continue to help drive Guoan forward and reward the long suffering but extremely loyal Beijing fans! Whatever happens, the love affair between Matic and Beijing will last long after he retires. Expect him to continually marshalling the Beijing midfield for a few more years.

Ji Xiang(Jiangsu Guoxin Sainty and Chinese National Team Midfielder)

Another persistent midfielder who has the ability and drive to reach the top, the Jiangsu Guoxin Sainty regular is a calm and collected player with great distribution skills and the ability to drive forward at crucial times and inspire his team mates. His dependable and steady performances have seen him called up for the Chinese national team and he can only improve with experience.

Ji Xiang goal in the Chinese Super League

Sun Ke (Jiangsu Guoxin Sainty and Chinese National Team Midfielder)

China's star turn at the Asian Cup in Australia with three crucial goals is also another reliable midfielder for Jiangsu Guoxin Sainty. Loyalty to Jiangsu all these years has made him a firm fan favorite.

His ability to score key goals has transferred to the international game and his strike rate for China is very impressive given that he has scored seven times for them. Expect this young and vibrant player to continue to be moulded into a top player and light up the Chinese Super League further.

Demba Ba (Shanghai Shenua Striker)

Definitely a coup for big spending Shanghai Shenua to sign the enigmatic Demba Ba and he has made an immediate impact and has already settled well by driving Shanghai Shenua to a recent vital win over hated rivals Beijing Guoan.

Ba will be able to build on his solid start and Shenua fans will hope that his partnership with Tim Cahill can bear further fruit with defenders trembling in the wake of facing them.

Demba Ba scores against Beijing Guoan

Dario Conca (Shanghai SIPG Striker)

The darling of the Guangzhou Evergrande fans found the lure of China too much and has since returned to the middle kingdom but for Shanghai SIPG. Over three incredible years, he scored 65 goals and drove Evergrande to the league title and the Asian Champions League.

Quick footed, nimble with excellent vision, if he can find his feet again then he will form another impressive forward line with Asamoah Gyan to rival cross town rivals Shenuas and lift SIPG to be the top side not only in Shanghai but in China.

Conca joins SIPG Ten players with different backgrounds and capabilities but all lighting up the Chinese Super League in their own little way.


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