David Beckham has been named as China's first global football ambassador as the country's crisis-hit game looks to revive its image.
The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder will help promote the Chinese Super League both around the world and in China ahead of the new season getting under way this weekend.
"I'm excited by the prospect of promoting the world's greatest game to Chinese sports fans as I've seen firsthand the growing interest in football there," the former England captain said.
"This is a wonderful sport that inspires people across the world and brings families together, so I'm relishing the opportunity of introducing more fans to the game."
Chinese football has been hit by controversy in recent times, after Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba both quit the league early into their spells there, then weeks later the Chinese Football Association (CFA) sanctioned 58 people in total, including two officials, following a three-year long anti-corruption push.
"2013 marks the 20th anniversary of professional football in China and the special ambassadorship of David Beckham will attract global attention to Chinese football and the CSL," said a spokesman for the CFA.
"While in China, he will attend the CSL and visit clubs to get a deeper insight into football in China.
"He will also help us to inspire and motivate many children to participate in this beautiful game."
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