China calls for early Clasico
The success of the early kick-off on La Liga matchdays in China may yet see an El Clasico staged during the innovative timeslot.
Following the success of Real Madrid’s match against Osasuna on Sunday, Chinese media believe the league leaders’ huge clash against Barcelona in December can be broadcast before lunch to benefit Asian viewers.
An estimated 60 million Chinese viewers sat down to watch as Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick, Karim Benzema bagged a brace and Madrid scored seven thanks to further strikes from Gonzalo Higuain and Pepe.
And after such an appetising starter, the Chinese want more.
“How wonderful it was to see Real play after dinner, without having to wait until dawn to see the game,” announced The Shenzhen Daily, while national news agency Xinhua demanded a midday Clasico between Spain’s two biggest sides on December 11.
“The Real-Barca game should be played at the same time because it would have a massive audience in China,” the agency said.
“Spain wants to take care of its Chinese fans and this is why it has changed the kick-off times of the games.”
And Xinhua went even further, claiming the Chinese market could help save Spanish football from the financial crisis currently affecting the Iberian nation.
“Given that there’s little money in Spain at the moment, they might as well chase the Chinese Renminbi.”
“Who knows, perhaps earlier kick-offs to appease the Asian market can form part of a Chinese rescue package to revive the moribund Spanish economy.”
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has claimed he is delighted to play at midday, but Barca president Sandro Rosell claimed on Monday that he is not keen on pandering to foreign markets.
“I will never put a game on at midday for the Chinese audience,” he said.
“We do want to open up our market but not to forget our roots.”
Spain’s Professional League (LFP) has not made a decision on whether marquee fixtures would fill the early timeslot in future.
“We haven’t made any decision or held conversations about that possibility,” secretary general Carlos del Campo said last month.