China football ‘legend’ dead after 48th birthday celebrations

Shanghai (AFP) – China’s former international football captain Zhang Enhua, who became a cult hero during a spell with unfashionable Grimsby Town in England, has died of heart problems after his 48th birthday celebrations, reports said Friday.

Zhang reportedly fell ill after enjoying his birthday on Wednesday with friends, the Global Times and other state media said.

A central defender, Zhang was part of the China squad at the 2002 World Cup — the only time the country has competed on football’s biggest stage.

Zhang spent most of his career in Dalian, the northeast city where he was born, and won seven league titles with his hometown club.

Xinhua news agency mourned him as a “Chinese soccer legend” and Soccer News said that he was “a fighter” on the pitch, but warm and easy-going off it.

Zhang’s death also made headlines in Grimsby, a fishing town on England’s northeast coast where he spent part of the 2000-2001 season following a surprise three-month loan move.

Zhang was flown over from China to solve a defensive crisis as the club fought for survival in England’s second tier.

He soon became a fan favourite, making 17 appearances and scoring three goals for Grimsby, before returning to China to prepare for their World Cup campaign.

He had a son born in Grimsby and called him Gary.

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family

Leave a Reply

Translate »