Chinese star Wu Lei earned high praise back home after refusing to put his signature on the China national flag. The Espanyol forward was greeted by a group of Chinese fans at Doncaster Sheffield Airport before the La Liga side played a preseason friendly in England against home side Sheffield Wednesday. The fans came up asking Wu for autographs and all were accommodated until one of them asked the player to sign on a small China national flag. Wu politely refused, saying “cannot sign on the national flag”. The fan was not annoyed and joined Wu and other fans for a photo session. Wu Lei has been widely praised for refusing to sign a China flag for a fan while Espanyol were on preseason in England. pic.twitter.com/CPtVRZ0xK3 — Jonathan White (@jmawhite) August 1, 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Wu’s action was praised by major media in the mainland, who said the player truly respects the national flag. Video footage of the incident, released by the Spanish club, reached the top of microblogging website Sina Weibo’s “Hot Search” at one point on Wednesday. The official People’s Daily site on Weibo said Wu had made a good example of how the national flag should be respected, while Sina Sports said “excellent, national flag cannot be signed”. View this post on Instagram 新赛季第一粒进球//Primer gol de la temporada A post shared by 武磊 (@wulei_wl7) on Jul 28, 2019 at 11:43am PDT <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Many social media users also agreed with Wu’s action, saying the player had done the right thing and always had the motherland in his heart, not just by chanting empty patriotic slogans. Wu’s off-field behaviour seems to have caught as much attention as his actions on the pitch. The Chinese forward scored a brilliant late equaliser for Espanyol when he struck home with a half-volley in the closing minutes as they forced a 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday under new coach David Gallego. We drew 2-2 away to Sheffield Wednesday with @javipuado20 and Wu Lei scoring our goals. It was not a great game, but @andrestprieto was excellent in goal. Next up is our trip to Iceland to face Stjarnan in the second leg of our Europa League qualifier. ⚪️ #rcde pic.twitter.com/aopMpxnd4e — RCD ESPANYOL ENGLAND (@ESCE_RCDE) July 28, 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Wu impressed former coach Rubi after his arrival in the La Liga during the winter transfer window, but Rubi joined Real Betis this summer before Gallego stepped in. Mainland soccer fans, who always refer to Wu as “The Chinese Football King”, said their favourite player would have to work from the beginning again to win the heart of the new coach.