Wu Lei (Chinese: 武磊; pinyin: Wǔ Lěi; born 19 November 1991) is a Chinese footballer who plays for RCD Espanyol in La Liga. He is the all-time top goalscorer for Shanghai SIPG with 169 goals. He is also the all-time top goalscorer in Chinese Super League history with 102 goals. Wu also holds the record for being the youngest player to have appeared in a Chinese professional league match aged 14 years and 287 days.
|Full name||Wu Lei|
|Date of birth||19 November 1991|
|Place of birth||Nanjing, Jiangsu, China|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|2003–2005||Genbao Football Academy|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 May 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 May 2019
Wu Lei was born in Nanjing and developed a passion for football at an early age. At that time, Jiangsu Sainty organized a summer training camp, which Wu was enrolled into. In 2003, Wu took a recommendation letter written by former Chinese footballer Li Hongbing and followed his father to the Genbao Football Base in Shanghai. After meeting with Wu, Xu Genbao, the head of the youth academy, went to Nanjing to complete the migration registration for Wu, allowing him to join the academy.
Wu Lei started his football career playing for third-tier side Shanghai SIPG, making his debut for the club on 2 September 2006 in a 5–3 loss against Yunnan Lijiang Dongba, making him the youngest ever player to play professional Chinese football aged 14 years and 287 days. He helped the club win the third tier title and promotion to the second tier at the end of the 2007 league season. He scored his first goal for the club on 30 August 2008 in a 2–0 win against Qingdao Hailifeng. This made him the second youngest goalscorer in Chinese football aged 16 years and 289 days, just 47 days behind Cao Yunding's record.
Wu scored a hat trick on 2 June 2013 in a 6–1 win against Shanghai Shenxin, becoming the second youngest player to score a hat-trick in the top tier. He scored his second hat-trick of the season on 18 August 2013 in a 3–2 win against Tianjin Teda. He scored his third hat trick of the season on 27 September 2013 in a 6–1 win against Qingdao Jonoon. On 31 July 2016, Wu became the first Chinese footballer in over two years to score a hat-trick in the Chinese Super League in a 3–3 draw against Guangzhou R&F. On 18 March 2018, he scored four goals in a 5–2 win against Guangzhou R&F, becoming the second Chinese footballer to score four goals in a league match after Li Jinyu. In the 2018 season, Wu became the top goalscorer in Chinese Super League history with 102 goals. He also won the Golden Boot award with 27 goals, becoming the first Chinese footballer to win the award since Li Jinyu. Wu was also named as the Chinese Football Association Footballer of the Year at the end of the season, becoming the Chinese footballer to win the award since 2007.
On 28 January 2019, Wu transferred to La Liga side RCD Espanyol for a reported fee of €2 million, signing a three-year contract with an option for an additional year. He made his debut for the club on 3 February 2019 in a 2–2 draw against Villarreal, coming on as a substitute for Dídac Vilà in the 77th minute. He became the second Chinese footballer to play in La Liga after Zhang Chengdong. On 9 February 2019, he came on as a substitute and earned a penalty which produced the equalizer in a 2–1 win against Rayo Vallecano. On 17 February 2019, Wu became the first Chinese footballer to start a La Liga match in a 0–0 draw against Valencia CF. Wu scored his first goal for the club on 2 March 2019 in a 3–1 win against Real Valladolid, becoming the first Chinese footballer to score in La Liga. On 24 April 2019, Wu scored his second goal for the club in a 1–1 draw against Celta. On 18 May 2019, Wu scored his third goal for the club in a 2–0 win against Real Sociedad, securing Espanyol's spot in the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League qualifying stages.
Wu was called up to the Chinese under-20 national team in 2009 and scored nine goals in five matches during the 2010 AFC U-19 Championship qualification matches. His impressive goalscoring performances saw him called up to the Chinese national team for the 2010 East Asian Football Championship, making his debut on 14 February 2010 in a 2–0 win against Hong Kong.
Several months later, Wu returned to the under-20 national team for the 2010 AFC U-19 Championship and he played in four games and score two goals while he aided China to the quarterfinals by the end of the tournament. He scored his first goal for China on 28 July 2013 in a 4–3 win against Australia at the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup.
Style of playEdit
Wu has been praised for his goalscoring exploits and off-the-ball movements. He is known for his explosive speed, especially on counterattacks. A versatile forward, Wu is capable of playing anywhere across the frontline. Although he has played as a striker and second striker, he often plays as a winger and can operate on either flank.
Wu's goalscoring prowess drew praise from former manager Gao Hongbo, who stated, "Wu's scoring ability is innate, making him a gifted player." In 2013, former mentor Xu Genbao, who has been attributed to helping develop Wu, described him as "China's Maradona". Wu's performances during the 2013 Copa del Sol caught the eye of Molde FK's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Solskjær commented on Wu's footballing prowess, stating, "He is a good striker; if he moves to Molde, I think he can improve well enough to play for an English Premiership side in a year."
Wu's transfer from Shanghai SIPG to La Liga side Espanyol on 28 January 2019 drew widespread attention amongst Chinese media outlets. According to PPTV, the official broadcaster of La Liga in China, more than 25 million fans in China watched Espanyol win 3–1 against Real Valladolid, in which Wu scored his first goal for the club.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|China PR||League||FA Cup||CSL Cup||Asia||Total|
|2006||Shanghai SIPG||China League Two||-||-||-|
|2008||China League One||24||4||-||-||-||24||4|
|2013||Chinese Super League||27||15||0||0||-||-||27||15|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||League Cup||Europe||Total|
- As of 11 January 2019 
- Scores and results list China's goal tally first.
- "FIFA Tournaments - Players & Coaches - WU Lei". FIFA.com.
- "Wu Lei". Soccerway. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- "武磊天天看巴萨录像玩实况用曼联 恒大报价超张琳芃". Sina Sports. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- 乙级也有上海德比：武磊上场创纪录 东亚遗憾负东巴 at sports.sina.com.cn 3 September 2006 Retrieved 8 September 2012
- 东亚小将刷新联赛纪录 中国马拉多纳前途无量 at sports.qq.com 2 September 2008 Retrieved 8 September 2012
- 上海德比爆大冷 武磊成中超最年轻帽子戏法球员 at sports.163.com 3 June 2013 Retrieved 4 June 2013
- "Wu's hat-trick salvages point for SIPG". Shanghai Daily. 31 July 2016.
- 杜震宇戴帽泰达3–0获首胜 毅腾遭四连败. sohu (in Chinese). 30 March 2014.
- 收获“大四喜” 我们正在见证一个最好的武磊. Eastday.com (in Chinese). 19 March 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
- 本土荣耀!武磊已经追平身前1尊神 打破外援射手垄断. sina (in Chinese). 4 November 2018.
- 武磊超越李金羽成本土最强前锋 距埃神纪录仅差1球. ifeng.com (in Chinese). 7 November 2018.
- 荣耀!武磊结束中超先生外援10年垄断 表态愿出国踢球但必须打主力. sohu (in Chinese). 21 November 2018.
- 官方证实武磊转会费为200万欧 最新身价350万欧 at sina.com 1 February 2019 Retrieved 1 February 2019
- Wu Lei, new player of RCD Espanyol at rcdespanyol.com 28 January 2019 Retrieved 28 January 2019
- Piferrer, Dídac (17 February 2019). "Wu Lei becomes first Chinese player to start LaLiga Santander game". MARCA. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
- "Wu Lei becomes first Chinese player to score in Spanish league". South China Morning Post. Associated Press. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
- "Wu Lei: How Espanyol forward is helping La Liga's attempt to overtake Premier League". 29 March 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Zhicheng, Hu (25 April 2019). "China's Wu Lei breaks goal duck as Espanyol extend unbeaten run". CGTN. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
- 亚足联盛赞国青惊艳表现 称宿家军表现能得满分 at news.xinmin.cn 12 November 2009 Retrieved 8 September 2012
- Score Sheet(PDF) – EAFF : EAST ASIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION at eaff.com 14 February 2010 Retrieved 8 September 2012
- "连媒：武磊为冠军可转会恒大 很难超越郝海东". ifeng news. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "高洪波：满意上半程球队表现 武磊能力属天赋异禀". ycwb. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "武磊玩实况最爱用曼联 恒大超高价也带不走他". Tencent Sports. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "Wu Lei, China's maestro in the making". FIFA.com. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Wu's first Liga goal breaks Chinese viewing record". ESPN.com. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "少数民族国脚：买提江成新疆第一人 张琳芃武磊皆回族". Tencent Sports. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- "徐根宝：球员早点结婚是好事 老婆管得住有助提高". Sina Sports. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "赢球当晚武磊喜获爱子 儿女双全堪称人生大赢家". Sohu Sports. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- 武磊 at sodasoccer.com. Retrieved 1 November 2015 ‹See Tfd›(in Chinese)
- "Wu, Lei". National Football Teams. Retrieved 30 May 2018.