Date
21 July 2017
Xi Jinping shows off his kicking skills (inset). On Friday, he will visit Etihad Stadium, rather than Old Trafford, home to his favorite Manchester United. Photos: http://www.mcfc.co.uk, baidu.com
Xi Jinping shows off his kicking skills (inset). On Friday, he will visit Etihad Stadium, rather than Old Trafford, home to his favorite Manchester United. Photos: http://www.mcfc.co.uk, baidu.com

How Man City upended Man U in battle for Xi Jinping

Manchester United are not the winningest club in the English Premier League for nothing.

In a head-to-head clash with Manchester City, the Red Devils are more likely to win than lose.

Not in this one, however. Not even with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their side.

Apple Daily is reporting that Man City have snatched Xi from a planned trip to Old Trafford to see his favorite football team.

That means Xi will instead visit Etihad Stadium, home to the Sky Blues, on Friday morning.

Sir Richard Leese and Sir Howard Bernstein, leader and chief executive, respectively, of the Manchester City Council and avid Sky Blues fans, have had a hand in the coup, according to The Sun On Sunday.

But the clincher was apparently delivered by Prime Minister David Cameron who picked the Eithad Stadium over Old Trafford after Buckingham Palace had a hard time making up its mind, the Financial Times reports.

True to their name, the Red Devils did not go down without a fight.

Some senior club officials have won invites to a series of meet-and-greet activities with Xi for whom Britain has rolled out the red carpet.

But there’s more to Man City getting on Xi’s good side than it seems.

Recent owners — from former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour – have had closer ties with China than Manchester United’s Glazer family from the US.  

Manchester City also signed Sun Jihai, the first Chinese footballer to play at the Premiership level.

Sun went on to play six seasons for Man City.

He was often favorably compared with another Chinese star, Dong Fangzhuo, who played for Man U for four years but made just three appearances.

Xi will take in an exhibition women’s match at Etihad Stadium between China and Man City before ending his five-day visit.

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