Six of the best for Chinese Super League on World Soccer 500 but Wu Lei is the only local to make the cut
Domestic players down from three to one since last year and there’s not a single representative from powerhouses Guangzhou Evergrande
World Soccer magazine has announced the World Soccer 500 for 2018 and the Chinese Super League has six players on the list of the globe’s most important players.
But the only Chinese player to feature is Shanghai SIPG’s Wu Lei, who retains his place from the 2017 version of the annual list.
Veteran national team star Zheng Zhi, 38, and his Guangzhou Evergrande and China teammate Feng Xiaoting made the list last time out but both have lost their places.
Shanghai SIPG provide two of the six CSL players, with Brazilian striker Hulk joining Wu, although there is no place for their teammate and Asia’s record transfer, Oscar.
The side currently lead the league on goal difference from Shandong Luneng, having won their opening three games of the season. Wu is top scorer in the league with seven goals in three games, including a four-goal haul against Guangzhou R&F last weekend.
Watch: Wu Lei runs riot
Beijing Guoan’s Renato Augusto, who is expected to be part of the Brazil squad at the World Cup in Russia this summer, makes the list, as do fellow World Cup hopefuls Mikel John Obi of Tianjin Teda and Nigeria and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel at Tianjin Quanjian.
The list is rounded out by last season’s CSL top scorer and MVP Eran Zahavi of Guangzhou R&F.
There is no room for players from the seven-time champions of China Guangzhou Evergrande, nor for some of the league’s stand-out foreigners.
Former golden boy Alex Pato at Tainjin Quanjian misses out, as do Argentine pair Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano at Hebei China Fortune.
Former Evegrande midfielder Paulinho, now at Barcelona, makes the list as one of 40 Brazilians, the largest representation from a single country.