, MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Oct 23 – Chinese President Xi Jinping blew the final whistle on his state visit to Britain on Friday with a day out at the English Premier League leaders Manchester City.
After three days of banquets, processions and trade talks, Xi posed for selfies with City players and met former stars from their local rivals Manchester United – with the clubs due to play each other on Sunday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron accompanied Xi on his tour of Manchester as the UK government tries to promote investment in the post-industrial cities of northern England.
Cameron and Xi – reported to be a United fan – visited Manchester City’s academy.
The state-of-the-art training facility includes a 7,000-capacity stadium and 16 football pitches that can cater for more than 450 players.
The two leaders posed for a “selfie” picture with Sergio Aguero, City’s Argentinean star striker.
They watched a training match and met players who helped build the city’s footballing legacy, including former United captain Gary Neville and ex-City stars Patrick Vieira and Mike Summerbee.
They also met Denis Law, who scored 171 goals for United during the 1960s and 70s, but who famously scored a goal to relegate the club after transferring to City.
The two leaders toured the National Football Museum, which houses artefacts including a ball used in the final of the inaugural 1930 World Cup.
Xi inducted former City player Sun Jihai into the museum’s Hall of Fame. Sun was the first Chinese player to score in the Premier League.