ADO Den Haag’s newly signed Chinese player Li Sirong’s good looks ‘cannot save Chinese soccer’
Published: Feb 01, 2021 06:53 PM

Li Sirong Photo: screenshot of video posted on Sina Weibo

The son of Li Ming, a former member of the Chinese national soccer team, has become all the talk on Chinese social media after joining ADO Den Haag in the Netherlands, but many consider his rise in popularity is mainly due to his handsome looks instead of his skills on the field. 

On Thursday, Li Sirong, 18, signed with the Netherland's soccer club ADO Den Haag, which was founded more than 100 years ago. The news about Li, the first Chinese player to train at the Hague soccer training camp for youth, quickly grabbed the attention of Chinese netizens.

Many netizens compared Li to British player David Beckham because of his good looks.

Most of the conversation among netizens seems to be focused not on Li's skills as a player, but on how good-looking he is. The hashtag "Li Sirong is handsome" had earned more than 140 million views by Monday afternoon.

As the news spreads, the number of Li's followers on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo also increased from several thousand to 200,000, with many new fans focused on his appearance.

"This young 18-year-old man is so handsome. Why didn't I know about him earlier? I announce that I am his 'girlfriend' now," one netizen commented under a post showing photos of Li.

"I do not care how he plays soccer. His face will make me forgive anything he does," another netizen wrote.

Such comments generated antipathy among Chinese soccer fans, who objected to netizens applying standards usually used for pop idols to Li and other athletes.

"He is an athlete. The only standard to judge his brilliance should be his scores and sports skills instead of how he looks. A good-looking face cannot save Chinese soccer," netizen PPSports commented.

Li's skills were questioned by some sports commentators after video clips of his previous performance during some training matches were released on Sina Weibo as he didn't contribute a single point while playing.