LISBON, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Primeira Liga champions Benfica expressed solidarity with coronavirus-stricken China before their home league match against Sporting Braga on Saturday.
Before kick-off, players from both Benfica and Braga wore shirts with the message, "Stay strong China, we are together" in Mandarin as a show of support to Chinese people, whose country is currently struggling to deal with the virus.
The same message could also be seen in the center of the pitch, in front of the players' line-up and on the big screens at the Stadium of Light.
"On my behalf and on behalf of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, I want to express a feeling of deep solidarity with our friends from the People's Republic of China, at this very difficult time, that we are sure they will be able to overcome," said Benfica president Domingos Soares de Oliveira.
"I would also like to thank the Chinese ambassador in Lisbon for his immediate availability to be with us today at Stadium of Light, where we have expressed a very clear message of support for the Chinese people," he added.
Cai Run, China's ambassador to Portugal, expressed his thanks to Benfica and the Portuguese people for their show of solidarity and support.
"I would like to thank Benfica and friends from all around Portugal for their condolences and support to China in fighting the coronavirus. This has shown the friendship between Portuguese and Chinese people," the ambassador said.
"Tonight, I believe Chinese people will be able to hear the loud chants of 'Stay strong China, we are together' by all Portuguese people at the Stadium of Light," he added.
"With strong support coming from around the world including Portugal, China has the confidence and ability to win this battle," Cai continued.
Benfica has close ties with China, and currently has two football schools located in the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Nantong, where eight of the club's coaches are responsible for training around 300 athletes.