China 'super' salary may attract more Australians

An Australian player may set a trend for his countrymen in the China Super League. Socceroo midfielder/striker Ryan Griffiths recently joined Liaoning FC on a year-long loan from his Romanian side, Rapid Bucharest and made a dream debut when he scored the winner in a local derby to give the club from northern China its first league win of the season. Griffiths says the standard of the game he played in was good and clubs are allowed to bring in four foreigners who must be paid at least US$300,000 per year.

"They have got the money ready like that. They have got everything in place, and if they want a player, they will just take him like that. It's not like they muck around for a little bit. If they want a player, they are fair dinkum and that's it. If you are a foreign player, the minimum is $US300,000. If they like you as a player, they will pay you extra to keep you there and keep you happy. They will put you in a five-star hotel, pay you bonuses. It's an unusual experience," he told Michael Lynch of The Age.

Griffiths knows about pressure, having become the Romanian league's record signing when bought by Rapid for €1.3 million and big things were expected of him on his Liaoning debut in China. "Considering that the team had not won the first two games and the whole town was relying on the new player to score the goal, it was something that I had never experienced before, the way they were so fanatical after the game. They didn't invade the pitch — it's different there than in Romania. There they were crazy, with flares, throwing things at the referee. Here, it was more enjoyment," he said.

"The teams are technically good, very fast. I think where I can knock them off is with a bit of power and strength ... They don't really have strength in the middle. They like to use quick wingers and they try to get the foreign players as central defenders, central midfielders and central strikers," he said.

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