His group’s fortunes may be on the up once again, however the very same can’t be stated for Chinese striker Wu Lei’s career.

In a season where the 29-year-old was anticipated to be growing in Spain’s 2nd division, Wu has discovered himself consigned to a bit-part role for table-topping Espanyol, which is trying to go back to La Liga following transfer last year.

An uncommon start in a 2-0 Copa Del Rey victory over Burgos recently yielded Wu’s 3rd goal in all competitors this term. Nevertheless, on Monday, the previous Shanghai SIPG striker was back to bench-warming responsibilities. Wu’s 74th-minute appearance as a replacement in a 2-0 league triumph over Castellon was common of his frustrating campaign, during which he has actually started simply 9 of his team’s 19 matches.

Player evaluation website transfermarkt.com presently rates Wu at 4 million euros ($ 4.8 million), less than half of the 10-million-euro tag he commanded in the summer season of 2019.

However, as fans have actually pertained to anticipate from Wu, the forward is preserving a favorable outlook amidst his battles.

” All of us understand what we have been through in 2020. Perhaps eating grapes won’t alter too much, however everyone still are really confident for the coming brand-new year,” Wu wrote on his individual blog site last week, describing the Spanish custom of eating 12″ fortunate” grapes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

” I always remember a special image that I took years prior to here in Spain,” he continued. “I keep remembering the day when Yan Junling, Wang Shenchao, Cai Huikang, Lyu Wenjun and I leapt on the beach. We at that time had all the dreams for the future and we were brave. 5 years after that moment, we won our very first Chinese Super League title (with SIPG).

” Years ago when I traveled to Europe to experience European soccer, my coach constantly stated that we ought to discover from the West … At that time I might not believe that years later on I would belong to a European team. To believe back all those years, it’s really hard.

” We are still running on the track to chase our dreams. And we are still the young kids as previously.”

Wu made international headings in January 2019 when his arrival at then top-flight Espanyol saw him end up being the sole China international in any of Europe’s significant leagues.

He rapidly negated the theory that the transfer was mostly a marketing choice, ending up being the very first Chinese player to rating in La Liga and helping Espanyol to increase from transfer trouble to a seventh-place surface and Europa League qualification.

Wu contributed 8 objectives in all competitions in the 2019-20 season, but the team had a hard time terribly throughout that pandemic-interrupted project, with a revolving door of head coaches stopping working to avert transfer to the 2nd tier. To compound matters, Wu and his better half had to battle COVID-19 after both evaluated positive for the virus in March.

Many Chinese fans hoped Wu might seek to continue his career elsewhere in Europe, with a number of clubs, consisting of English Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers, reportedly interested in his signature.

Wu, however, opted to sign a brand-new long-lasting contract with Espanyol up until June 2024, promising to help the Barcelona-based club go back to La Liga.

” The year of 2020 was too unique for everyone. I had many terrific memories, however likewise I experienced numerous challenging times in my life,” said Wu in a new-year video message.

” In early 2020, I made many developments in my profession, but I also tasted the disappointment of my club’s transfer.

” The COVID-19 pandemic, however, provided me more time to think about my life. It really helped me comprehend that I ought to work harder for my dreams. I believe we can defeat all obstacles ahead through effort, joined efforts and company belief. I think the pandemic will eventually end, and we will have our success. The wound will be healed and households will reunite.

” Thanks to everybody who battled in 2020. It was not a best year, however we have a lot more to expect in the future. I hope for a quick end to the pandemic and for Espanyol’s promo to La Liga.”

In spite of his depression, Wu remains an icon of the Chinese video game, with the country’s soccer authorities now on an objective to discover more homegrown talents of a similar requirement.

Previous Manchester City star Sun Jihai reckons Wu’s accomplishments in Europe use wish to Group China as it continues its mission to receive its first World Cup finals given that 2002.

” I believe Wu Lei still has big space for enhancement. He is presently our only hope. I understand his pressure and loneliness. It’s really difficult for him now,” former China global Sun told media recently.

” For any market, 10 years is not an extended period. We need to be client. Chinese soccer has been combating to get approved for the World Cup finals for the last 40 years. If we are moving in the right direction, we can accomplish lots of things in ten years.”