Corinthians signs Chen Zhizhao

Updated: February 29, 2012, 10:05 AM ET
Associated Press

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian champion Corinthians says they have signed 23-year-old Chinese attacking midfielder Chen Zhizhao, hoping he will help the team expand its brand into China.

Chen played for Chinese club Nanchang Hengyuan and spent six months with Portugal's Trofense before coming to Corinthians.

His contract with the popular Brazilian club runs until the end of 2013.

The idea to sign the player came from the club's marketing department, which is trying to make the team more popular abroad.

The team's marketing department also came up with the idea to sign Ronaldo a few years ago, when the former Brazil star was recovering from his latest serious knee injury.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press