By Sportswriters Wu Shuguang and Spencer Musick
BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinua) -- Chinese football chief Cai Zhenhua is hailing the charitable work of one goalkeeper and team captain in China's top-flight league, and pointing out its benefits to Chinese football.
"I am glad to see that Tianjin Quanjian footballer Zhang Lu is doing charity work. A giving soul is certainly helpful for Chinese football," said Cai Zhenhua, who was elected as the president of the Chinese Football Association in January 2014.
Chinese football has been struggling with poor performance and scandals in recent years. However, things are changing for the better as footballers are interacting with everyday people off the pitch more and more.
"Sports stars are at the same time role models. A football star is no exception. They should know many young people are watching their matches and their words, and learning from them," Cai said.
In Cai's opinion, a football star should be capable of delivering good performance on the pitch, interacting constantly with media and fans off the pitch, and doing charity in their spare time.
"A football star who shows his commitment to society will set a good example for young people, attract more to invest in football at a grassroots level, and drive more to play football," sai Cai.
"We all know that the NBA is popular around the world. One of the reasons for its popularity arises from charity. The NBA has a social responsibility program called NBA Cares, which displays the league's tradition of giving back to the community," Cai remarked.
Cai also mentioned Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, who was named the world's most charitable sports star in 2015, allowing him to leave a mark on football history.
Cai called on all Chinese footballers to do charity work, and said he believes Chinese football will benefit greatly from it.