PM and Chinese President to meet football legends on Manchester visit

Prime Minister David Cameron with Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday Credit: PA

David Cameron and the Chinese President will rub shoulders with football royalty on a tour to Manchester.

The pair will spend the morning in the company of star players before attending a lunch with business leaders to promote the Government's Northern Powerhouse agenda on the final day of Mr Xi's state visit.

The president will tour a football academy to meet former players and watch a training match.

They will meet the team's former players Patrick Vieira and Mike Summerbee, and ex-Manchester United stars Gary Neville and Denis Law - nicknamed The King - whose glittering career also involved spells at City.

The president and Mr Cameron will also visit the National Football Museum where they will witness former City player and Chinese international Sun Jihai being inducted into the hall of fame.

Sun Jihai and Salomon Kalou battle for the ball in 2008 Credit: PA

The former City defender, who made 130 appearances for the club between 2002 and 2008, was the first Chinese player to score a goal in the Premier League.

He will be placed alongside legends including Law, George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore in the hall of fame.

The Prime Minister and president will attend a lunch at Manchester Town Hall, alongside more than 200 businesses, civic leaders and community representatives from across the north of England and China.

They will also visit Manchester Airport, where Hainan Airlines will announce a new route between the city and China, the first direct flight from the UK outside London.

The deal is estimated to provide a £50 million boost to the Manchester economy and open up links from China to northern England.

Other deals include:

  • Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) being appointed as main contractor for the Middlewood Locks regeneration project in Manchester.

  • The University of Central Lancashire is establishing a joint innovation and entrepreneurship campus with the Shenzhen Government in south eastern China, while Uppingham School in Rutland is setting up five schools in China.

  • Hong Kong-based Netdragon Websoft will finalise the acquisition of educational supplies company Promethean World Plc, based in Blackburn, for #84.8 million, securing 671 jobs.