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A tale of two countries – Chinese footballers' British struggles

Updated: 2015-10-22 09:15

Sun Jihai – the Sun still rises out of the Blues

Crystal Palace (1998-1999), Manchester City (2002-2008)

A tale of two countries – Chinese footballers' British struggles

File photo of Sun Jihai at Manchester City. [Photo/CFP]

Sun Jihai was named Manchester City's Club Ambassador in China, allowing fans to recall his six-year spell there.

Sun didn't catch the club's revival which began after being bought by an Abu Dhabi conglomerate in 2008 and peaked by securing Premier League titles in 2012 and 2014.

Heralding a trend for Chinese footballers to test the water overseas, Sun set Crystal Palace as his first stop in Britain on a one-year stint with the London club till 1999.

The defender made 130 appearances for City between 2002 and 2008, a turbulent period when the Blues were often subdued by league giants, including city rival Manchester United.

He was the first Chinese player to score in the Premier League; heading home in a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City in October 2002.

Sun helped City to win the First Division title in 2002 and gain promotion to the Premier League.

The newly-appointed City ambassador is expected to return to the club on Friday as part of President Xi Jinping's entourage on the Chinese leader's tour of the Etihad Stadium, home to the current Premier League leaders.

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