GUANGZHOU, November 11 – Under-fire Chinese goalkeeper Wang Dalei, who sparked outrage after he called home fans "morons" and "a bunch of dogs", has apologised to the nation and been suspended.The highly rated 21-year-old, linked with European champions Inter Milan and big-spending Manchester City, let loose on a micro-blogging site after being singled out for his failure to stop Japan’s second goal on Monday.
The Japanese, China’s bitter rivals, went on to win the match 3-0 in the Asian Games group stage in Guangzhou, to a barrage of criticism from fans and the Chinese media.
One TV commentator compared Wang to a "volleyballer".
"I apologise sincerely to the media and supporters of the whole nation for my unpleasant words, which damaged the image of the football team, sports and China," a repentant Wang said.
"It’s my fault. I hope you can forgive me and give me another chance," he added, calling his outburst "extreme".
"I’ll never make the same mistake in the future."
Nevertheless Cai Jiadong, secretary general of the Chinese Asian Games delegation, said that Wang had been "suspended and ordered to meditate on his action", the state Xinhua news agency said.
"Wang admitted his action was unsportsmanlike and irrational and hurt the feelings of Chinese soccer fans and tarnished the image as a national soccer team player," Cai said.
He did not say how many games Wang, who branded reporters "haters of Chinese soccer", would be suspended for, but he did not feature in their nail-biting 2-1 victory over Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday.
Wang had written on the micro-blogging site: "I heard that there are 7,000 professional soccer reporters (in China) and I guess 4,000 of them must hate soccer.
"Is that really necessary?
"I’m not a ‘Spiderman’. I punched the ball out, but you guys still laugh at me. I was beaten on the pitch and verbally abused off. Don’t say you know how to play soccer. Because you know nothing about it."
The blogging site has been shutdown until the end of the Asian Games, which finish on November 27.