Axel Witsel was the hero for Tianjin Quanjian in their Chinese Super League game against Shanghai Shenhua on Saturday.
The Belgium midfielder, who earns a reported £294,000-per-week in China, scored an 85th minute equaliser to hand Tianjin their first point of the season.
But it wasn’t for his goal that Witsel currently finds himself in the headlines.
The 28-year-old was on the receiving end of a stamp from Shanghai midfielder Qin Sheng that has resulted in a heavy punishment for the former China international.
Shanghai have announced that Sheng will be fined £35,000 and have his wages docked for the rest of the season, according to Goal. Considering the 2017 CSL season only started this month, that’s a long time to go unpaid.
Sheng, 30, has also been forced to train with the reserves and any attempt he makes to leave the club will be blocked.
Ruthless stuff. Bournemouth's Tyrone Mings probably feels fortunate to have escaped with a five-match suspension for his stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic now.
Watch: Sheng's stamp on Witsel
Shanghai are furious with Sheng
Club president Wu Xiaohui said: “The extremely irrational behaviour of Qin Sheng has severely tarnished the image of this club, the football of Shanghai and even Chinese football.
"All the efforts made by others have gone down the drain because of him.”
What’s perhaps most concerning is that Shanghai had to warn Sheng about his behaviour prior to Saturday’s match.
"Given Qin Sheng was shown a yellow card in the season opener, we intentionally warned him over his poor on-field behaviour before the game,” Xiaohui added. “However, our repeated warnings have not prevented this happening.
"I don’t think he was just caught up in the heat of the moment. Instead, it’s a flagrant violation of the club management."
Witsel snubbed Juve for China
Witsel is one of a number of high-profile players who have left European football for China. He plays alongside former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato at Tianjin Quanjian and played against Carlos Tevez on Saturday.
The former Zenit Saint Petersburg midfielder, who was wanted by Juventus, admitted the money helped sway his decision to move to China.
“It was a very difficult decision because on one hand there was a great team and a top club like Juventus,” Witsel told Tuttosport, via the Daily Mail.
“But on the other there was a crucial offer for my family that I couldn't turn down.”
Two games in and he’s already been stamped on. One imagines Witsel’s Chinese adventure could be pretty interesting.
Is Sheng's punishment harsh or fair? Let us know in the comments section below!
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