Corinthians winger Chen 'surprised' at China call-up
Sao Paulo, March 12 : Corinthians winger Chen Zhizhao admits he was "surprised" at being called up for China's national football squad for the first time.
The 24-year-old was selected Monday by coach Jose Antonio Camacho for China's 2015 Asian Cup qualifier against Iraq in Changsha March 22, reports Xinhua.
"I am a little bit surprised but happy to be able to play for my country. I would like to thank Corinthians, the coach (Tite), the players and everybody at the club," Chen said.
Affectionately known as "Zizao" by his teammates and fans in Brazil, Chen has quickly become a favourite among Corinthians' supporters who recognise his speed and deft finishing skills.
He arrived in Brazil last year on loan from China's Shanghai Shenxin and despite not featuring in Corinthians' 1-0 victory over Chelsea in December's FIFA Club World Cup final, his impact has been immediate.
Chen has already made three first-team appearances this year, providing stiff competition for places in an attacking formation that also boasts former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato and Peru international forward Paolo Guerrero.
Yet to cement a place in Tite's first-choice team, Chen says he is feeling more settled.
"My intention is to stay here in Brazil at Corinthians," he concluded.