BEIJING: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson can't wait to get to China where the Red Devils play local team Beijing Hyundai next week, not so much for the match but the sightseeing.
“I have never been to Beijing. China is a fast-developing country, so are the Chinese football team,” Fergie told Beijing Weekend newspaper.
“I am sorry that they failed to qualify for the World Cup next year but their improvement is remarkable.
“As for the visit, I think I must go to the Forbidden City, because it is very worthwhile from an historical angle.
“The Great Wall and Tiananmen Square are also worth visiting. I think Beijing has a lot of places worth visiting but time is the key.”
United arrive in Beijing on Sunday for their game at the Workers' Stadium on Tuesday with a host of star names in tow, including their Chinese signing Dong Fangzhuo who is expected to play.
“For me there is certainly pressure. But the key is to exert my ability well,” said Fangzhou.
“Of course I hope to score. I will just try my best.”
Fangzhou was signed by United last year but is currently on loan to Belgium's Antwerp.
Very few of the Premiership team's players have been to China before and, like Fergie, are looking forward to the experience.
“I am looking forward to meeting you (Chinese fans),” said Rio Ferdinand, who is stalling on signing a new deal at Old Trafford and was jeered by fans during a 5-1 pre-season win over Clyde in Scotland on Saturday.
“I hope you will have fun at our match. I think it is good preparation for us in the new season to play in a different climate.”
Paul Scholes echoed similar sentiments.
“We are looking forward to coming to China. The Asia Tour will prepare us for the rest of the season.”
The club, who are estimated to have 40 million fans in Asia, are on a four-nation Asian tour that also takes in Hong Kong, Beijing and Japan.
Asia, and in particular China, is seen as a key market for the world's richest sports club, which over the past three years has opened at least 10 of its “Mega Stores” across the continent. – AFP