The former Shanghai SIPG forward was only on the pitch for 12 minutes

40 million people in China tuned in to watch Espanyol forward Wu Lei’s La Liga debut.

As reported by the BBC, 40 million Chinese fans watched Espanyol forward Wu Lei’s La Liga debut.

In January, Wu had signed with Espanyol, which is owned by Chinese billionaire Chen Yansheng, from Shanghai SIPG.

On Sunday, Wu AKA ‘Chinese Maradona’, made his debut as a substitute in Espanyol’s 2-2- draw at Villarreal. The Chinese striker, who was singed for €12m was on the pitch for 12 minutes and attracted 40 million viewers in China.

The total TV audience in Spain was only 177,000. Espanyol’s total audience for the 17 league matches this season is just over seven million.

Espanyol’s social media following on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has increased by more than 20,500 outside China. In China, the figure exceeded half a million.

2,500 replica Espanyol jersey’s with Wu’s name and squad number were sold out within 48 hours of the signing.

Espanyol is expecting great things from their new signing, who scored 27 goals in 29 game sin the Chinese Super League.