An official signing ceremony here marked a new global partnership between Italian soccer giant Juventus and Chinese firm Linglong Tire on Sunday.
After unveiling the deal in China's Shandong province in early February, the two partners chose to celebrate the new sponsorship at the Juventus Stadium, the same day that the Serie A leading team faced second-placed rivals Napoli in a key match for the season.
With the agreement, Linglong Tire -- among the major tire manufactures in China -- became the official global sponsor of the soccer club, and this should help boost Juventus' presence in terms of international development in China, according to the Italian club.
The deal with Linglong Tire followed the previous sponsorships signed by Juventus with Chinese mineral water firm Ganten Water and online betting company F66.com.
Linglong Tire chairman Wang Feng described the deal as from a "win-win" perspective.
"Everybody knows Juventus. In China alone, it may have over one hundred million fans, which clearly shows the advantage of such sponsorship," Wang told Xinhua at a press conference after the ceremony.
Although well known in China and at the global level, Linglong Tire could still see room for improving its brand awareness in Europe, and becoming an official partner of the Italian club would be a further step in that direction, according to Wang.
"At the same time, we are encouraging fans from all over the world to interact.
"We do hope to be helpful in further boosting Juventus' reputation, and in supporting the growth of football in China," he added.
Many guests from China attended the signing ceremony held at the Allianz Stadium, which pleased their host, according to Giorgio Ricci, Juventus head of Global Partnerships and Corporate Revenues.
"Linglong has done something very few of our partners have done before," Ricci told the audience.
"It has brought here dozens of guests from thousands kilometres away to let them enjoy the clue match of this Serie A season," Ricci stressed.
The two sides, according to Ricci, shared some crucial values: "A commitment to excellence, and a constant effort to pursue success in our respective sectors," he said.
On their part, the "Bianconeri" brought a very special guest - Juventus legend Antonio Cabrini, currently in charge of the Italian women's soccer team - to celebrate the new deal
"Many good players from Italy and Europe have moved to China in the latest years, which would likely help the Chinese football grow," Cabrini told reporters about the expansion of football in China.
"If they work well at technical level, I believe China will be able to build a great team in about 5-6 years," he added.
Cabrini, now 60, can boast a very successful career as a fullback with Juventus as he had won six times in Italian Serie A league, plus all of the three UEFA Club competitions, and the Italian Cup twice.
He took part in three FIFA World Cups (from 1978 to 1986) with the Italian national team, winning one in 1982.
"Soccer today is not better or worse, but simply different, and football clubs have changed much as well," Cabrini said.
"For example, Juventus was 'only' a soccer team back in my day, while today it is a real company, with commercial interests beside the sports ones, like many other big clubs," he added.
Speaking about Italian football, he lamented a certain lack of effort toward younger generations, which might partially explain the country's poor recent results (and its non-qualification for the 2018 World Cup) as a national team.
"I think young players in Italy are being penalized today, partly because we are unable to carry out a homogeneous approach toward new talents," Cabrini concluded.