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Messi makes World Cup Chinese ADs

By MA SI/FAN FEIFEI/ZHENG YIRAN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-02 08:07
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The booth of Mengniu, a dairy producer based in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, stands outside a World Cup venue in Moscow. Mengniu is one of seven Chinese companies sponsoring the tournament.

Argentina crashed out of the World Cup, but the face of Lionel Messi will still be featured on Chinese TV screens during the championships than the face of any other player.

In a prime-time advertisement, he lies face-up on the soccer field, wearing a hard-to-read expression-some say tired and fulfilled, others say sad and confused.

"I was not born to be strong. I have been fighting to be strong," goes the voiceover. Messi is advertising for Mengniu, a dairy producer based in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, and the advertisement is broadcast repeatedly before matches, at halftime and after the games.

Chinese businesses have invested heavily in the World Cup, and television viewers have been surprised to find advertising boards with large-sized Chinese characters surrounding soccer fields. Many of the English-language boards feature Chinese companies, including electronics producers, fashion brands and even an e-bike maker.

"I often have the feeling that I am watching a match of the Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao team back home in the China Super League," said Ma Chao, a Chinese fan who traveled to Moscow for the World Cup.

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