Espanyol striker Wu Lei has become the first Chinese player to ever start a LaLiga game. He was selected in the line-up for the match against Valencia.
Back on December 30, 2015, his compatriot Zhang Chendong, became the first Chinese player to feature in a Spanish league game, in Rayo Vallecano's encounter against Atletico Madrid.
Wu Lei was one of the few bright sparks in a poor China side at this year’s Asian Cup, scoring twice against the Philippines, including a stunning technical volley. He was also the top scorer in the Chinese Super League last season with 27 goals, outscoring the likes of Odian Ighalo and Cedric Bakambu, although Wu Lei did have Brazilians Oscar and Hulk providing plenty of chances for him at Shanghai SIPG, who won their first Chinese Super League title.
According to Fox Sports, Espanyol’s Chinese owner Chen Yansheng has been "desperate to explore the Chinese market for some time", and this move will certainly boost Espanyol and La Liga’s presence in China. La Liga signed a ‘strategic agreement’ with the Chinese Super League earlier this month which will supposedly increase La Liga’s presence in China and see young Chinese players and coaches go to Spain.