Wu Lei debut exceeds Clasico viewings

The Chinese Footballer of the Year joined Espanyol on January 28 in a cut-price £1.80 million (R31m) transfer from Super League Champions Shanghai SIPG after securing the Golden Boot with 27 goals and 10 assists in 29 games last season.

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SIPG reportedly allowed the deal to go through to the Spanish giants for the nominal fee in order for the nations most prized asset to develop in Europe and his influence has been telling as a marketing phenomenon within the second biggest economy in the world.

In Sunday's early kick-off, 40 million people in China watched the winger make his debut against Villarreal, compared to just 177,000 in Spain.

That 12-minute cameo of the 27-year-old dwarfed Wednesday night's Clasico at the Camp Nou, which attracted 10 million viewers.

The effect of Wu Lei's cameo with Los Blanquiazules can be shown by the fact that Espanyol had just over seven million people watch their 17 matches from the start of the season in August to the end of December.

After his unveiling at the club reached 350 million people in his home nation.

The China international will most likely break further viewership records if he is afforded a full LaLiga debut against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.