Sydney FC set to face Guangzhou's $65m striker

In a glamour ACL tie that's set to eclipse the 2007 visit of Urawa Red Diamonds, Sydney FC will face powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande who are set to play their new $65m signing Jackson Martinez at Allianz Stadium next month.

In a sign of the changing times in the Chinese Super League, the Colombian is the latest high-profile and big-money addition to the burgeoning competition.

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Guangzhou broke the Asian transfer record to snatch the imposing striker away from La Liga giants Atletico Madrid.

In an impressive list of world-class players to join the CSL in the January transfer window, Martinez is easily the biggest catch.

He has proven to be one of the best strikers in Europe over the last few years, making his name at Portuguese side Porto – where he scored 67 goals in 89 games – before moving to Madrid.

The boon for the CSL has the come with the backing of a huge $1.7 billion broadcast deal.

It’s enabled a host of clubs to go on major a spending spree and become a major player in the global transfer market.

Guangzhou, the defending ACL champions, also have a couple of brilliant Brazilians in their squad in ex-EPL midfielder with Spurs Paulinho as well as Ricardo Goulart. 

Leading players now view the CSL as an attractive league for them to play, and now not just at the back-end of their careers.

Jiangsu Suning – the club of Socceroo defender Trent Sainsbury – paid Chelsea £25m for Brazilian Ramires while Ivorian Gervinho went to Hebei Fortune FC on a hefty transfer fee.

In a treat for Aussie fans, Martinez will be heading Down Under next month to take on Jacques Faty, Matt Jurman and the Sky Blues in the ACL.

Interest in the game on and off the park should eclipse the Sky Blues' famous May 2007 ACL group tie against Urawa Reds at Allianz. 

In a stunning show of support, the J-League club dubbed the "Manchester United of Asia" brought over 1200 fans for the midweek tie and their support opened many Aussie fans' eyes to how active support looks and sounds. 

On the pitch, Holger Osieck's side included a player soon to be known to Sydney FC,  Shinji Ono, as well as stars Robson Ponte, Tulio and Yuchiro Nagai.  

Ironically, that night David Carney was one of Sydney's stars in the 2-2 draw when he nabbed a very early goal to set up a fabulous night for the Sky Blues. 

The winger is set to face Guangzhou with his new Sky Blue teammates after re-joining the club this week. 

Sydney FC will also face Urawa Reds in another massive test in the group stage.