Wu Lei thanks medical staff after coronavirus

Chinese star Wu Lei hailed the selfless actions of medical staff on Monday after the Espanyol forward was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus last month in Spain.
Wu Lei thanks medical staff after coronavirus

Espanyol striker Wu Lei in action against Wolverhampton Wanderers during their Europa League round of 32, first-leg match at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, Britain, in this February 20, 2020, photo.

Spain-based China international Wu Lei, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, has hailed healthcare professionals and other frontline workers for their tireless contributions in the fight against the pandemic.

Striker Wu, who plays for La Liga side Espanyol, was the first player from China to test positive for the disease which has infected more than 2.38 million and killed nearly 165,000 people.

China's football association said on March 21 that the country's best player was infected but the 28-year-old said he had only light symptoms which quickly disappeared.

Wu has been self isolating in Spain and thanked doctors and nurses for the treatment they provided him and others infected by the flu-like virus.

"From my experience of being infected by the virus, I cannot describe the respect I have for doctors and nurses who sacrifice their time and own safety to help patients recover," the forward told the Asian Football Confederation.

"I must thank them for taking such good care of me as well as to those who continue to help people affected by the COVID-19," he added in an interview as part of the AFC's #BreakTheChain public awareness campaign to fight the virus.

Wu, who isolated at home in Barcelona after his positive test, urged people to follow the advice of medical experts and the World Health Organization to help stop the spread of the pandemic.

"The medical frontliners have and will always be heroes so please do not let their efforts go to waste," added Wu, who joined La Liga's bottom side from Shanghai SIPG in January last year.

Wu, who has scored 10 goals in 54 matches for Espanyol, was back doing light exercise at the start of this month.

Marouane Fellaini, who was the first Chinese Super League player to test positive for the virus on his arrival in China last month, also thanked hospital medical staff and his club Shandong Luneng after he was discharged last week.

The 32-year-old former Belgium midfielder, who joined Shandong in January 2019 from Manchester United, had returned to China last month to join up with his CSL club.

Meanwhile, the owners of CSL champion Guangzhou Evergrande will build two stadiums with capacities of 80,000 each, in addition to the club's new 100,000-seat home.

CSL clubs are building or renovating a clutch of stadiums with China set to host the newly expanded 2021 FIFA Club World Cup and AFC Asian Cup in 2023.

Evergrande Group, a major property developer, has asked fans to pick their favorite designs for two more new stadiums.

"Evergrande plans to build two additional 80,000-seat football fields and invites everyone to recommend two of the six preliminary plans," Guangzhou Evergrande's owners said on social media.

The statement did not give any further information such as where in China or when the stadiums would be built.

The CSL champion, coached by Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro, began work last Thursday on its eye-catching new home.

Costing 12 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion), it will be bigger than Barcelona's famous Camp Nou and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022.

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