Real Madrid and Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou Evergrande have agreed to a tie-up that could see player exchanges and the Spanish giants opening an academy in China.
Madrid, who play Evergrande later Wednesday in a pre-season friendly in Guangzhou, are striving to promote their brand in fast-developing China, as are a host of other top European sides.
The two sides on Tuesday signed what Chinese state media called "a letter of intent", with an eye on cooperation on player exchanges, brand promotion and the opening of the largest football academy in China.
"We are building a close relationship with Guangzhou Evergrande (which) we believe will be closer as time goes by," Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.
"We are working together to establish a football academy in China, which I think is the first step of our cooperation."
Real play their second and final game in China on Saturday in Tianjin, which is close to Beijing.
Evergrande have taken the resurgent Super League by storm this season and recently splashed out $10 million on the Argentinian midfielder Dario Conca.© ANP/AFP