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 Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 17:56 GMT
Cardiff sign Chinese star
Fan Zhiyi in action for China in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea
Fan Zhiyi (left) has won 109 caps for China
Cardiff City have confirmed the signing of China's World Cup defender Fan Zhiyi.

The Bluebirds hope the 33-year-old, who has won 109 caps for his country, will start training with them immediately.

Zhiyi has agreed personal terms with the club on a contract until the end of the season.

He has yet to complete a medical and the club need to finalise a work permit from the Home Office.

My aim to help Cardiff reach the top division

Fan Zhiyi
The former Crystal Palace and Dundee player enjoys a similar hero status in his country as does England captain David Beckham.

He was voted Asian Player of the Year in 2001.

"I wanted to join Cardiff because I think they can reach the Premier League," Zhiyi told the Western Mail.

"That is my aim - to help Cardiff reach the top division."

Zhiyi has been a free agent since the World Cup, and therefore his transfer does not fall under the new transfer window regulations.

He first came to Cardiff's attentions after refusing to sing an extended contract with Dundee before this summer's transfer deadline.

An injury in China's opening match against Costa Rica ruled him out of his country's remaining fixtures in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea.

Although Zhiyi can also play in mid-field, Cardiff manager Lennie Lawrence says he wants the former China captain to strengthen the team's defence.

"I don't think Fan will have any problems playing in the Second Division," Lawrence added.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Cardiff City owner Sam Hammam
"Fan is a leader and oustanding in the air"

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Match coverage
See also:

05 Sep 02 | Dundee
26 Jun 02 | China
17 May 02 | China
11 Nov 02 | Cardiff City
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