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Nedved says Juve keen on Chinese talents

Friday July 15 2016

Impressed with the state of football in China, the Chinese Super League's new image ambassador Pavel Nedved says that Italian Serie A giant Juventus FC is open to Chinese talents.


In his role with the CSL, the former Czech Republic international midfielder will help promote the league and enhance cooperation between Chinese footballers and foreign resources, especially in his country and his former club.


"I am honored, but also feel a huge responsibility," said Nedved, who is now vice president of Juventus. "I will not only contribute my image, but also do practical work. I'm not a person good at words, and you will see my efforts."


Nedved revealed that he had held talks with CSL officials, and the two sides have been working on future plans to help develop Chinese football, including communications between clubs, coaches and cooperation in youth training.


Under the aegis of China CEFC Energy Co, which is also Nedved's Chinese partner, eight youth teams from five countries, including one each from Shanghai and Beijing as well as the Juventus youth team, gathered in the Czech capital Prague in March for a youth tournament. CEFC also owns 60 percent of Czech club SK Slavia Praha.


As a managing member of Juventus, Nedved suggested that spotting Chinese talents for the Italian club was also one of the purposes of his China stint.


"I have visited some clubs and talked about the possibilities — I can't give names of the clubs, but what I can say is that Juventus is open to every club. Any club that has good players who are seeking overseas development is welcome to contact us."


Having arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday, Nedved attended the Chinese FA Cup match between Shanghai Greenland Shenhua and second-tier league side Tianjin Quanjian at Hongkou Football Stadium. The latter is coached by his former Juventus teammate Fabio Cannavaro. The Tianjin team featured a lot of young players in the match, which Shenhua won 4-0.


He also visited Greenland Shenhua's Kangqiao training base in Pudong New Area yesterday morning.


"I have not watched a lot of matches in China yet. But I was impressed by the players' performance (on Wednesday), and the good atmosphere at the stadium," said Nedved.


Asked if he thought it was a good thing for CSL clubs to spend big on foreign players, Nedved said the principle should be to benefit Chinese football.


"It is a good thing to introduce new blood for the league and make it more international. But it cannot be too much. Clubs should buy players with certain qualities like a good personality, or those who can become role models for their Chinese teammates and make a contribution to Chinese football.


"I know China has a dream to host and even win a World Cup, and dreams are to be realized. China does have high quality players. What they need is suitable training methods and coaching," he added.


The former Czech captain is much liked by Chinese fans for his determination, verve, stamina, as well as loyalty. "To work hard and never give up, that's the spirit I want to pass on as an ambassador," said Nedved, who succeeded England's David Beckham in the CSL role.


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